Right around this time of year, it seems like every child at school and daycare is feeling a little sick. As any teacher or parent will attest to, winter is a tough time for colds. Many scientific studies have been conducted to figure out the link between winter weather and colds, with some fascinating results that lend way to some hopeful preventative strategies.
This article will aim to answer common seasonal questions like “when is cold season?” and “why do we get sick in winter?” It will also provide tips for preventing colds in children so that the whole family can enjoy good health for the holidays and beyond.
Contrary to popular belief, winter itself is not a cause of colds. But when it’s cold outside, more people head indoors and remain there in close quarters with many germs floating around in the air. When the weather outside is dry and cold, certain viruses are more likely invade mucosa and begin to grow and cause cold symptoms.
Another answer to “why winter is cold and flu season?” is that the body’s natural defense system may not work as well in cold temperatures. Studies have shown that the immune system’s capabilities may become diminished when temperatures drop, which means that the body is less able to effectively fight off a cold virus. Since the days of winter are shorter and have less sunlight, individuals receive less natural vitamin D and melatonin, which may also compromise the immune system.
The symptoms of the winter flu are very similar to those experienced during other seasons of the year. However, they may become more severe or last longer because of a compromised immune system and germ-filled indoor conditions. While winter colds are more restricted to afflictions of the nose and throat, a winter flu virus often brings body aches, fever, and headaches as well.
As a parent, teacher, or caregiver, there are many ways to promote preventing colds in children. Any effective cold prevention strategy begins with washing the hands after sneezing coughing, or blowing the nose, Hand washing in warm soapy water is also important after playing, before and after eating, and after coming in contact with sick individuals. In addition to washing hands, washing children’s toys can also help prevent the spread of germs.
Other preventative measures include not sharing cups and utensils, covering one’s mouth while coughing or sneezing, and getting the flu vaccine. During the winter season, it may be a good idea to avoid crowded places as much as possible if the child’s immune system is weak. Regular exercise, a healthy diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, and a restful night’s sleep all go a long way in helping child’s body naturally fight off viruses.
Despite the very best prevention efforts, colds in children will still happen and are totally normal. Make sure to have PediaCare cold products on hand for when colds strike so little ones can quickly get back to building snowmen, throwing snowballs, and enjoying all the fun winter activities they love.
In this parental guide to cold relief, PediaCare provides resources for parents seeking answers for their child's special circumstances. Medicine made for kids, helps getting better easier!