Thoughtful Parenting: How to prepare for the cold and flu season
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Cooler weather and the return to school mean more germs and more chances of getting sick for kids and families. Many illnesses can spread easily among little ones. SafeCare Colorado, a program of Northwest Colorado Health, provides free, voluntary parent support for parents and caregivers with children ages 5 and younger to help keep their families safe and healthy.
Here are a few tips to prepare for cold and flu season and care for a sick child.
1. Preventing illness: Hand washing is the No. 1 way to stop the spread of germs and decrease the chances of getting sick. Practice proper hand washing with your children and teach them the importance of washing their hands before eating, after using the toilet, after playing outside or with a pet, and after coughing, sneezing or blowing their nose. Prevention also includes physical activity, dental care, good nutrition, adequate sleep and regular medical check-ups and immunizations with a medical provider.
2. Comforting a sick child: Sick children may need more attention than usual and can become clingy, cry more often or just want to be near you. A child may not understand why they don’t feel well, and this can make them scared; others may become withdrawn. Try to be cheerful around your sick child, and be especially patient with them. Let your child’s behavior be your guide when keeping them comfortable. If your child is very sick, they may want to stay in bed and sleep a lot. However, if your child wants to be out of bed and playing, let them.
3. Providing care at home: It is very important for a sick child to drink as much water as possible to replace the fluids that may have been lost during sweating, vomiting or diarrhea. Your child may not want to eat much, and you do not need to force food, as long as the child gets plenty of liquid. When they are feeling better, they will make up for the food missed and may eat more than normal.
Remember to stay calm and be extra loving and understanding when your child is ill. Keep in contact with your child’s medical provider, and reach out if you have any questions or concerns. Most medical offices offer 24/7 on-call assistance for parents to help determine if your child needs immediate medical attention.
Learn more about SafeCare at NorthwestColoradoHealth.org/safecare or call 970-415-2668.
Kim Maneotis is the SafeCare Colorado site supervisor with Northwest Colorado Health.
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