Illness is common during the winter months. It’s normal to get coughs, colds, viruses, and other winter bugs when the weather is cold, and it can be even worse if you have school-age children who are exposed to plenty of germs and bacteria while they are out of the house. But the good news is that there is plenty to do to reduce the risks and ease symptoms and recover quickly if you do get ill. Here’s a look at some of the best ways to keep your family healthy this wintertime.
Encourage Good Habits
Good habits are the best way to protect yourself from illness this winter. Simple things like hand washing, throwing tissues away, sneezing into your elbow, covering your mouth when you cough and staying home when you are unwell can make a huge difference.
When a new foster child arrives with you, spend some time making sure they know where everything is. Make sure they have easy access to soap, and that they know about good hygiene and cleanliness. Encourage them to tell you if they feel unwell. Orange Grove Foster Care can offer further advice on welcoming a new child if you are new to fostering or need help getting started.
Set a Good Example
Talking to foster children is great, but they copy your behaviours too. Check your own personal hygiene and improve it if you need to.
Look at Your Family’s Diet
What you eat can have a big effect on your immune system. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals will boost immunity and help to reduce illnesses this winter. Make sure warming stews and casseroles are filled with vegetables, and that you have plenty of fruit to snack on.
You might find that some foster children have different dietary needs and tastes, so take these into account, and try to stick to classic family meals that are easy for everyone. Work closely with your fostering agency to stay informed of any allergies and dietary requirements.
Make sure you are wiping sides and touchpoints like light switches and door handles with an antibacterial spray or cloth regularly, as well as keeping on top of all your usual cleaning routines. Washing towels and bedding regularly, and not sharing towels can also help to stop the spread of germs and bacteria.
If you and your children spend a lot of time on phones and other devices, wiping these down is something that you should do every day too.
One of the reasons we get ill in the winter is that we spend lots of time indoors, where the air can be more humid, allowing disease to spread and grow. If your house is humid, a dehumidifier could help, but it’s also a great idea to try to open the windows a little when you can, to let some fresh air circulate. When it’s too cold to open windows, make sure you are using any extractor fans and vents.
Make sure your family has everything that they need to keep warm. This can include things like extra blankets on the bed and hot water bottles, but also waterproof coats and shoes, and hats and gloves for when they go out. Make sure you have a few coats in different sizes in case a child arrives without.
Staying healthy over winter can be a challenge. But with the right care, you can reduce the risks and minimise symptoms as much as possible.