Winter is here but does that mean we have to stay cooped up in the house? For new moms, you’ll probably go a bit stir crazy with your little one, especially during the colder months. Here is a guide from Dr Naheed Maher, a paediatrician at Ziauddin Hospital, for parents on how to keep their kids warm, healthy and safe during the winter.
Dress your baby in layers
Dressing your infant in layers allows you to adjust to their needs. “The bottom layer can be snugs, like leggings and a bodysuit. On top of that you can put another layer of pants and a long sleeved shirt. Finish up with a jacket, hat, mittens and warm booties to keep their hands and feet warm!” says Dr Maher. Choose breathable fabrics such as cotton or muslin so you can take clothes off or put them on as needed and always keep their head covered.
Strive for a healthy immune system
In Pakistan, parents start following a very restrictive diet when their kids fall sick. “There is a common myth that rice, potatoes and bananas can cause discomfort and trigger different types of a cough.” Dr Maher debunked the myths and explained that there is no such evidence that such food triggers coughs.
Restrictive diets like this also deprive the little one of the nutrition they need, she cautioned.
Offer plenty of fluids
Keep your child hydrated to help reduce cold and flu symptoms and make them feel better. Fevers can result in dehydration.
Your child may not feel as thirsty as they normally would and they may be uncomfortable when drinking, but it’s important to encourage them to drink plenty of fluids.
What medicine should you give when your little one gets sick?
You can give Panadol, Ibuprofen, Ponstan or Calpol to your kids when they’re sick but the quantity matters. According to Dr Maher, “If your kid develops a fever above 100 degrees only then you can give them medicine.”
She explained that the dose of the medicine should be given according to the body weight of your children. “For every kilogramme of body weight you can give 15 milligrams, so if your kid is 10kg you can give them 150mg of Panadol, Ponstan and Calpol.”
The dosage of Ibuprofen is 5mg per kilogram of body weight, so for a 10kg kid you can give 50mg of medicine.
These medicines can be prescribed for children but make sure you don’t give more than three doses of Ibuprofen in a day. Only four does of Panadol, Ponstan and Calpol can be given in single a day.
Is it okay to bathe your child frequently in the winter?
“Alternate day baths are ideal for children and there are no contradictions that you should bathe less in the winter,” said Dr Maher. One should provide the appropriate environment to the children before bathing them. Always bath them with warm water and make sure they are in a warm environment until they are fully dressed.
Coughs and colds: medicines or home remedies?
Cough and cold medicines can cause serious harm to young children. The risks of using these medicines often outweigh the good the medicines might do in reducing cold symptoms. And coughing helps your child breathe better by clearing mucus from their airway, so don’t try to stop it.
A good home remedy is safe, does not cost a lot and can help your child feel better. “Giving honey or warm water make excellent cough remedies for kids because they thin out mucus, making it easier to cough up. Plus, liquids soothe a raw throat and keep your little one hydrated. Have your child drink decaffeinated tea with herbs and cinnamon mixed with honey,” advised Dr Maher.