Keep your kids well this winter

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As winter begins, coughs, colds and tummy bugs in children are on the rise. However, getting ill isn’t inevitable. There is lots you can do to help prevent winter bugs.  If your little ones are unwell, there is support available.

NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Chris Reid said: “We know how worrying it is when your child is ill. There’s plenty of advice available through the Handi app and NHS111 online so that you can keep your child warm and comfortable at home and be confident about when to seek further medical help.

“You can also reduce the likelihood of getting poorly through prioritising vaccinations, adopting healthy habits, and encouraging good hand hygiene.”

Top tips for children’s winter wellness:

  1. Know where is best: There are lots of places you can get help for illness and injury. This includes your local pharmacist, your GP, NHS111 online, Cornwall’s network of minor injury units and the urgent treatment Centre at West Cornwall. You can find locations and waiting times online, your nearest may not be your quickest.
  2. Find the answers at your fingertips: The free NHS-approved HANDi app has an easy-to-use symptom checker as well as advice on how to treat common childhood illnesses at home and when to seek medical help.  There’s also health advice on NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board’s website.
  3. Get their jabs: Ensure that your child is up to date with their immunisations to guard against illnesses such as measles, meningitis, and flu. It’s important that vaccines are given on time for the best protection, but if you or your child missed a vaccine, contact your GP to catch up.
  4. Clean hands and bin tissues: Regular handwashing and the use of tissues for coughs and sneezes helps prevent the spread of germs.  Make sure tissues are binned. Alcohol hand gels are not effective against tummy bugs such as norovirus.
  5. Have a well-stocked medicine cabinet: Having a thermometer and children’s ibuprofen, paracetamol and teething gels on hand can help.  Store medicines in a cool, dry, lockable cabinet, out of reach of children.  Check dates on medicines.
  6. Healthy Habits, Healthy Kids: Create a routine that promotes well-being. Encourage a balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep. This will improve your child’s overall health and help them fight off infection.

Beat the Chill: Keep your little ones warm and dry during the colder months. Dress them in layers, provide waterproof clothing, and ensure they are protected against the elements.

"The HANDi App has been incredibly beneficial for me since becoming a mum" - Poster for the HANDi App

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