Categories: General Health

Winter care for the kids and the elderly

Children and the elderly are more vulnerable to winters and cold temperatures. Keeping them safe and healthy by protecting them from flu and other winter-related issues is a must. With winter already setting in, we have curated 10 health tips on how to keep our elderly and children winter-proof this season.

  • Watch the temperatures

The elderly and children are at a significantly high risk of getting affected by the cold. Elderly, especially the ones with cardiac issues tend to feel cold faster. So, it is the case with small children. Adjust the air conditioner to the winter mode, to always keep their rooms warm. Keep windows shut when the temperatures are dipping.

  • Identify and eliminate the risk of falling

Seniors are at a huge risk of falling during winters. That’s because they often tend to wear stockings and slippers inside the house to protect their feet from cold. Although these stockings and slippers help in protecting from the cold floor, they’re seldom slip-proof. This results in unexpected slipping on the floor or on the staircases, which can be bad for them. To avoid this, make sure they wear shoes and slippers that have a strong grip and always keep the floors dry.

  • Be clever about clothing choice

The onset of winter doesn’t mean kids will have to stay back at home. While going to play or off to school, make sure they’re dressed warmly and are wind and water-proof. Opt for woolen clothes whenever they go out. The insulation feature of woolen clothes helps to keep them dryer and warmer. For the elderly, if the temperatures are too cold at home, they can wear a thermocot. It can keep their bodies warm. To protect their face, hands, ears, and neck they can always keep gloves, scarfs and monkey caps with them.

  • Practice safety

Make sure they practice safety during winters, especially when the kids go out to play. During winters, the road can get slippery because of the dew, which can cause the tires of the cycle to skid. Make sure the kids have helmet, wrist, elbow and knee guards to protect them in case of a fall.

  • Keep an eye on their nutrition

Having a balanced diet during winters is very crucial to avoid the risk of catching the flu and cold. Be sure to give both the elderly and the kids, a balanced diet comprising of vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables. Dry fruits, sliced raw vegetables, whole-wheat crackers, yogurt are some of the best food items that make a balanced diet to strengthen their immune system.

  • Keep them hydrated

During winters, the kids may not sweat as much as they do in the warm weather. Lack of sweating can result in them not drinking enough fluids which can cause dehydration. To avoid this, make a smart choice of keeping them hydrated by adding low-sugar juices that are high in vitamin C. Studies have shown, this can lower the severity and the duration of winter colds. Decaffeinated tea and hot cocoa are also wise options as they are a great source of antioxidants that strengthen the immune system and also act as a comforting hot beverage.

  • Provide the elderly with cell phones

Provide and teach senior people in your house, how to use a phone if you haven’t yet. Always make sure their phones are charged and they’re up to date on how to make use of emergency dials. Choose a phone that is easy for them to use.

  • Wash hands

The winter water from the taps can get cold and untouchable. This may make the kids to not wash their hands before eating their meals. As they’ll be out throughout the day, the chances of their hands getting dirty and infection passing on through them are very high. Communicable diseases like cold, flu and pneumonia can pass on if enough care is not taken. Encourage them to wash their hands with warm water and hand sanitizer before they eat.

  • Use cold creams

Cold temperatures can have a diverse impact on the skin. It can lead to many skin problems like dryness, itchiness, rashes, psoriasis, flaking, and inflammation, etc. For common problems like dryness, herbal cold creams without chemical components will be a good option. For more severe and persistent problems like psoriasis, you need to take them to a dermatologist for a check-up.

  • Keep exposure to cold at a minimum

We know children have to go to school and senior people like to go out for walks. With proper precautions, all these things can be done. But just in case, when the temperature gets freezing, staying indoors is advisable unless there is a need to venture out.

Follow these simple tips to make sure that the kids and the elder persons are always safe and cold-proof during winters.

Dr. Chythanya D C, Consultant – Diabetology & Internal Medicine, Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Mysore

Narayana Health

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