Children are great carriers of bugs, and at this time of year GPs and hospitals will be filling up with sick children with coughs, colds and breathing problems.
Mostly these illnesses are caused by viruses which are spread by droplets. So when you sneeze or cough, you spray out loads of the virus which sits there waiting for someone else to come along and touch it. So, the best way to minimise the damage is to stop the virus from spreading. This is easier said than done with young children.
The number one thing you can do is wash your hands. Just think, you blow your nose, throw away the tissue and then shake hands with your neighbour, passing the virus onto their hands. They put their hands up to their face to brush away a hair, breath in and now they have your cold. So, cover your mouth when you cough, throw away dirty tissues, wash your hands and keep surfaces clean. All of these measures should help to decrease the spread of viruses. Encourage children to do the same, but depending on their age, it can be quite difficult.
The other way to protect yourself is by vaccination. The NHS has a flu vaccination program.
Each year they choose the most common strains of flu that they think will cause problems. So that doesn’t include a common cold, the flu vaccine is against ‘proper flu’. This year they have a nasal vaccine that they are offering children. If your child is offered it, my advice is to take it but do talk to your doctor first if you have any concerns. This year they are only offering it to young children (aged 2 to 3) and those with chronic illnesses. They are planning to offer it to all children over time.
For more information on vaccinations and what to do if your child is unwell, visit snotty-noses.-com.
And check out my blog to find out why kids get so many snotty noses.