3 STEPS to keep healthy and safe this winter
For little ones and their families
Colder days and darker nights can take a toll on your child’s health and wellbeing, but there are some easy steps you can take to look after them at home.
During this difficult winter of rising prices, it’s also important you seek help if you need it to pay bills and buy food.
Step 1: Put together a winter first aid kit
It’s always good to be prepared.
Use a small box to store items which will help you look after your child at home if they become ill.
Include a bottle of infant or children’s paracetamol (Calpol) or Ibuprofen and a thermometer for testing your child’s temperature, so you’re ready to come to their rescue at short notice – usually in the middle of the night!
Also, pop-in some plasters, bandages and antiseptic cream like Savlon for any little accidents at home.
Step 2: Find out about common illnesses
Bronchiolitis is a common viral infection which affects 1 in 3 children under two.
Spot the symptoms early, which are similar to a common cold, and help your child get better at home.
Early symptoms are similar to a common cold, but can develop into a dry persistent cough, dry nappies, a fever or hot to touch, too tired or breathless to feed, and a wheezing (rasping noise when breathing).
You can look after your child at home by:
- Giving them fluids to drink little and often
- Keeping them cool and in a well-ventilated room (16-20°C is fine)
- Giving them paracetamol (Calpol) if their temperature is high
Contact your GP if your child is feeding around half the usual amount and has dry nappies. The virus often clears within two weeks without antibiotics.
If your baby has bronchiolitis, it’s best to keep them at home. And, keep people with colds away from your child.
You can find out more on the link below.
Group A streptococcus (GAS) bacteria is common – lots of us have it in our throats and on our skin.
It doesn’t always make us ill, but it can cause infections including scarlet fever. Look out for symptoms in your child:
- Sore throat
- A fine, pinkish or red rash with a sandpapery feel
Contact NHS 111 or your GP if you suspect your child has scarlet fever. Early treatment with antibiotics is important to reduce the risk of complications.
There are always lots of viruses going round during the winter that cause sore throats, coughs and colds. Most will get better on their own and antibiotics won’t be needed.
You know your child best. If you think they are poorly and getting worse, trust your instincts – contact NHS 111 or your GP.
You can find out more on the link below.
Step 3: Seek help if you are worried about money
If you’re worried about paying your bills or buying food, it’s important for both you and your family that you get help.
The best place to start is Citizen’s Advice, a national charity which can offer free help online, over the phone or in person.
They can check you are receiving all the support you are eligible for, including benefits and access to free or discounted foods or vitamins for your children.
Find more information online visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk or call 0800 144 8848.
Support with meals
You can find foodbanks across Greater Manchester. Visit www.gmmh.nhs.uk/food-banks
FREE food and vitamins
You may qualify for a Healthy Start Card if you have a child under four, are 10 weeks pregnant or more and are on Universal Credit.
This helps you get free milk, formula milk, fruit, vegetables and vitamins.
Find out more at www.healthystart.nhs.uk
Extra payments to help with the cost of living
If you need extra payments to help with the cost of living, or get certain benefits or tax credits: Visit www.gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payment
More steps you can take to keep healthy and safe this winter
Cold weather can make some health problems worse, especially those more vulnerable like our little ones. For general help and advice on how to stay well over winter visit
Safest room temperature for babies
Make sure your baby is not too hot or cold. The room temperature should be 16-20°C, with light bedding or a lightweight, well-fitting baby sleep bag and no hats or duvets.
The Lullaby Trust website has a lot of useful information about making your baby safe and comfortable. Visit www.lullabytrust.org.uk
Support during pregnancy, birth and parenthood
Get trusted NHS advice on lots of different subjects, from feeding to playing with your child. Visit www.nhs.uk/start4life
Check your child is fully-protected!
Check with your GP if your child is up-to-date with their vaccinations, including flu and COVID.
Get to know where to go
If your child starts to feel unwell this winter, you can seek help from:
- A pharmacy for advice on minor illnesses
- Your GP – either online, on the phone or in person
- NHS 111 – 111 online is for people aged 5 and over. Call 111 if you are not sure what to do and need help for a child under 5.
If your child has any of the symptoms below, go to your nearest emergency department or call 999 for an ambulance.
- Pale, blotchy skin which feels unusually cold
- Difficulty breathing, with wheezing or grunting
- A fit or seizure
- Is sleepy all the time and difficult to wake-up or not responding even when awake
- Has a rash that does not disappear when a glass is lightly pressed against the skin
- Is under 3 months old with a temperature of 38C or above
- Shrill crying
- Persistently being sick or having diarrhoea