Winter Safety Tips
Layering clothing in the winter is not just a fashion statement–it’s good for your health! When you wear multiple layers, you can take outer layers on and off as you go between outdoors and indoors. Limit the amount of time you are outside on a very cold day. If you are playing an outdoor sport, take frequent breaks to come indoors and warm up before heading back out to the field or playground. It is important to stay dry, and remove any clothing that has gotten wet.
Remember that most of the body’s heat is lost through the head, so be sure to put on a hat when outdoors. Mittens and gloves will help keep hands warm as well. For babies, infants and very young children a good rule of thumb for dressing is to add one layer of clothing to whatever you are wearing. So if you are wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt, dress your child in pants with a long sleeve shirt and a sweater on top.
Fact or Fiction:
In the winter months, the reason you catch a cold is because you are going outside when it is cold out.
This is a mama’s myth! The reason people are more likely to get upper respiratory illnesses such as the cold or cough during the winter, is because this is the time of year when these viruses are circulating.
Additionally, since most of the time in winter is spent indoors to avoid the cooler elements, crowding leads to easy spread of these viruses.
Fact or Fiction:
Most colds are caused by the influenza virus.
Actually most colds are caused by the Rhinovirus which is the name of the virus causing the common cold. How can you distinguish between a regular cold and the Flu? The common cold will cause sneezing, stuffy nose, mild sore throat and cough with low grade fevers at times in younger children. The flu causes higher fevers, chills, sore throat, cough, runny nose, muscle aches, and fatigue. While the cold is bothersome, symptoms of the flu often have you laid up in bed for several days.
Helpful Tips to Stay Healthy This Winter
Get the influenza vaccine if you are 6 months of age or older.
Wash, Wash, Wash! Wash hands frequently and do not rub your nose or eyes, or put your fingers in your mouth. Most people carry respiratory bugs on their hands. These germs are easily transmitted to the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth.
If possible, try to sneeze into the inside of your elbow to prevent the spread of germs. If you sneezed into your hand, wash your hands right away with soap and warm water. Keeping a disinfectant such as Purell handy for when you are not near a sink is a good idea.
Make sure to wash your hands before eating. While this may seem like an inconvenience while you’re on the go, a few extra minutes washing up can make the difference between staying healthy or spending a week in bed with a bad cold. One sneeze can spread up to 40,000 droplets of infectious germs!