Winter Time


    Firstly, try to wash hands frequently to try and avoid getting sick.

    Colds tend to be more common in fall and winter when children are indoors and in closer contact with each other, so it may seem like your child has one cold after another all winter long. Young children, especially, get lots of colds before they turn 2 years old. Colds are caused by viruses and can be spread by coughing/sneezing/touching one's face then another person. Viruses are not treated with antibiotics because antibiotics kill bacteria only. The best treatment is supportive care with hydration (chicken soup, warm liquids, water), rest and good nutrition (plenty of Vitamin C). You may also try a cool mist humidifier to loosen up mucous, nasal saline drops and suctioning for very congested infants/children. Unfortunately, colds can last up to 2 weeks and also cause a lingering cough that lasts longer. If there is a persistent fever (>3-4 days) or lingering cough (>2 weeks), call the office to make an appointment to see a doctor.

    The best idea for keeping active children warm during the winter season is easy-on, easy-off outer layers. In addition, depending on how cold it is outside, remember to always put a hat on your child before going outdoors in the winter. If their hands are exposed, put some mittens on them. For babies, make sure they have very warm socks or booties on, too. A good rule of thumb is that your baby needs one more layer of clothing than you do.

    Once you're indoors, take at least one layer off your baby. Otherwise, the baby may sweat and the dampness will make him/her colder when you get back out in the winter air. And if you've covered your baby with a blanket in the car, you'll want to take it off once the car warms up.

    Winter time can cause your child's skin to dry out. Drier indoor air with cold outdoor air can sap the skin of moisture. To keep your child's skin moisturized, use a gentle lotion (i.e. Eucerin, Aveeno, Aquaphor) designed to lock in moisture and protect your child's skin from dryness, which is especially important during the winter months. Make it a habit to apply moisturizing lotion often during the colder months, and especially before you're heading outdoors.

    When you wash your baby/child, use warm, never hot, water and try not to overdo the number of baths you give them in the wintertime. Once out of the water, pat (don't rub) them dry quickly and immediately put on a mild moisturizing lotion. If the house is very dry, you might consider putting a cool-mist humidifier in your child's room to help keep their nasal passages moist and prevent drying out of their skin.

    Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Have children come inside periodically to warm up. Don't forget to apply sunscreen!

    Ice Skating**
    - Allow children to skate only on approved surfaces.
    - Check for signs posted by local police or recreation departments, or call your local police department to find out which areas have been approved.
    - Skate in the same direction as the crowd, avoid darting across the ice and never skate alone.
    - Do not chew gum or eat candy while skating.

    - Keep sledders away from motor vehicles.
    - Sledding feet first or sitting up, instead of lying down head-first, may prevent head injuries.
    - Consider having your child wear a helmet while sledding.
    - Use steerable sleds, not snow disks or inner tubes.
    - Sleds should be structurally sound and free of sharp edges and splinters, and the steering mechanism should be well lubricated.
    - Sled slopes should be free of obstructions like trees or fences, be covered in snow not ice, not be too steep and end with a flat runoff.

    Snow Skiing and Snowboarding**
    - Children should be taught to ski or snowboard by a qualified instructor in a program designed for children.
    - Never ski or snowboard alone.
    - Young children should always be supervised by an adult. Older children's need for adult supervision depends on their maturity and skill. If older children are not with an adult, they should always at least be accompanied by a friend.
    - The AAP recommends that children under age 7 not snowboard.
    - Consider wearing a helmet.
    - Equipment should fit the child. Skiers should wear safety bindings that are adjusted at least every year. Snowboarders should wear gloves with built-in wrist guards.
    - Avoid crowded slopes.
    - Avoid skiing in areas with trees and other obstacles.

    If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please call us at (818) 789-7181.

    Have a happy and safe winter!
    Valley Pediatrics Medical Group

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