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Protecting Children and Teens from Winter Related Respiratory Illnesses


Even here in the Sunshine State, this winter season in Florida has brought colder temperatures, and with the cold weather, all sorts of pesky respiratory illnesses start to creep in. Respiratory sicknesses like colds, the flu, RSV, and many others become the principal cause of school absences in the winter. That is why it is vital to follow preventive guidelines to keep our children and teens safe. We must also be responsible and don't contribute to the spreading of an illness. Here are some valuable tips to keep our warriors safe:


1.   We must encourage good hand hygiene habits in children and teenagers. Teach them to wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, particularly before eating, after using the restroom, and after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are unavailable, they should use alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead.

2.   It is crucial to teach children proper respiratory etiquette to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets. Please encourage them to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing. It is also important to discourage them from touching their face, especially their eyes, nose, and mouth, with unwashed hands.

3.   Encourage children and teens to avoid close contact with sick individuals. 

4.   Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital to ensure that children and teens have a strong immune system, making them less likely to get respiratory illnesses. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and staying physically active.

5.   It is crucial to regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, and countertops, to reduce the spread of germs. Additionally, proper ventilation in indoor spaces can improve air quality.

6.   It is vital to stay current with recommended vaccinations for children and teens, including the flu vaccine. Getting the annual flu vaccine is especially crucial in protecting against seasonal influenza viruses.

7.   Dress children and teenagers warmly before going outside in cold weather to prevent cold-related illnesses. Be sure they wear appropriate winter clothing like hats, gloves, scarves, and insulated footwear.

8.   Avoid exposing children and teens to tobacco smoke, which can worsen respiratory symptoms and increase the risk of respiratory infections.

9.   Promote good hydration by encouraging children and teens to drink plenty of fluids. Water, herbal tea, or warm broth can help keep respiratory passages moist and functioning correctly.

10. Keep sick children at home until they are no longer contagious. Follow your childcare provider or school's guidelines to determine when it's safe for your child to return.


In conclusion, winter respiratory illnesses can be a serious concern. However, by following the tips mentioned above and promoting healthy habits, we can significantly reduce the risk of illness and keep them safe and healthy during the colder months. By working together to promote these healthy habits, we can ensure that our children and teens stay healthy and happy regardless of the season and avoid prolonged absences.


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