Colds and winter bugs spread around families like wildfire, so keep your family healthy and happy by following some simple preventative methods
Sorry to break it to you, but colds are practically unavoidable. So, without a doubt, at least one member of your family will come down with something this winter.
But be ready for if it happens and prevent it turning into anything worse with our top tips for staying healthy this winter.
1. Keep a handle on your hygiene
Maintaining a good level of hygiene is the best way to defend yourself from germs, so encourage your family to wash frequently – particularly their hands.
Use wipes and anti-bacterial hand wash when you’re on the go.
Maintaining a good level of hygiene is the best way to defend yourself from germs
2. Wrap up warm
Save on heating bills and keep everyone warm by layering up.
‘Instead of wearing just one thick jumper, try layering for insulation,’ advises private health visitor Julia Headland. Check out our selection of winter warmers that will keep your toddler toasty when out in even in the chilliest weather.
When using the heating, try not to have the house too hot. ‘Try and keep the house temperature between 16 and 21 degrees and use draught excluders to stop heat disappearing from the rooms,’ says Julia.
3. Eat healthily
Boost your family’s immune system by rustling up lots of healthy and nutritious meals.
‘You need carbs but not lots of chips and crisps,’ explains Julia. ‘Instead, serve up wholegrain carbs as well as potatoes. A baked potato for example has a lot of vitamin C to help boost the immune system.
‘Try and go for a ' rainbow' of colours when it comes to fruit and vegetables. This variety will ensure you are getting a good mix of vitamins and antioxidants and eat good sources of fat such as nuts, seed and fish.'
Take a look at our recipe section for some great family dinner ideas.
4. Drink plenty
Stayed hydrated is really important – particularly when the heating’s on full blast and drying out your skin.
‘Drink fruit teas and water as a substitute for copious amounts of tea and coffee,’ Julia suggests. ‘And try to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink as this can reduce the effectiveness of the immune system.’
If your tot doesn’t like water, try to steer clear of fruit juice (as it’s full of sugar and acidity) and instead offer your child some no added sugar squash.
5. Stock up on medicines
Keep your medicine cabinet filled up with paracetamol, ibruprofen, cold remedies and decongestants. So, if someone does fall ill then you can quickly start treating them. Just remember to always keep medicines locked away or out of reach of your kids.
‘If you have a compromised immune system or a long term health condition such as asthma, consider talking to your GP about the possibility of having a flu jab,’ Julia advises. ‘Equally if you are pregnant, discuss the flu jab with your midwife.’
This vaccination is also available to toddlers in certain areas of the UK as a nasal spray.
6. Get plenty of sleep
Use the winter months as a great excuse to stay in bed a little longer each day. It’s perfectly natural to sleep for longer at this time of year as it’s darker and colder, making it a great opportunity for the whole family to catch up on their sleep. Hello, lie in (that's 7am these days, right?).
7. Try to give up smoking
If you’re a smoker, consider giving up as it’s particularly bad for your health during the colder weather.
‘Smoking is terrible for your health as it can cause lung cancer and other respiratory problems,’ says Julia. ‘Plus, it’s been reported to compromise your immune system.’
What are your top tips for keeping your family healthy? Let us know below.