The risk to catch the cold or flu peaks during the winter. Although frostbite and hypothermia are not common in the Augusta area, some days do get cold enough to be dangerous for little ones. Here are some general tips to keep your baby healthy during the colder months:
- Keep your baby away from people who are obviously sick and encourage older kids to stay away from people who have obvious cold, flu or COVID symptoms.
- Get your yearly flu shot and make sure that any baby older than 6 months gets one, too.
- If you have a newborn or infant, reduce the risk of infection by limiting contact with other people.
- Wash your hands regularly and encourage anyone who comes in contact with your baby to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. Wash your baby’s hands, too. If your children are old enough to wash their own hands, teach them how.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends teaching children to turn their heads and cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue or the inside of their elbow. They should not cough or sneeze into their hands, which will spread their germs onto everything they touch.
When the weather turns cold, we turn on furnaces and light fireplaces, which bring their own safety issues. Here are some tips for dealing with colder temperatures:
- Dress babies and children appropriately by adding an extra layer to whatever an adult would need to be comfortable in the cold weather.
- Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. This is especially important if you use a fireplace or other non-electric heating source.
- The winter is not an ideal time to play outdoor sports, but it’s important to keep kids active during the winter. Many recreation centers have indoor walking areas and exercise equipment in addition to indoor sports to sign up for.
- Should you use a humidifier? Many parents use a cool-mist humidifier during the winter to help children with nosebleeds and dry skin. Higher humidity levels, though, increase dust mites and mold in your home. Discuss with your pediatrician whether a humidifier is a good idea.
Here are a few other facts to keep in mind about cold weather health:
- Taking extra vitamins and minerals likely will not keep your children from getting sick in the winter.
- Colds and the flu are caused by viruses, not by being outside in the cold. Still, being underdressed in the cold is not a good idea.
- Many people want the pediatrician to prescribe an antibiotic every time their baby has a runny nose. Antibiotics do not work on colds and flus, which are caused by viruses.
- The sun’s rays are not as strong in the winter as they are in the summer, but they can still cause sunburn.
Pediatric Partners has three locations to better serve our patients. The Evans office is at 411 Town Park Blvd.; the downtown Augusta office is at 1303 D’Antignac St., Suite 2600; and the new Grovetown office is at 5135 Wrightsboro Road. For more information about Pediatric Partners, call the office at 706-854-2500, visit PedPartners.com, or follow the Pediatric Partners of Augusta Facebook page.