With the cold and flu season fast approaching, it is important for all parents to try and take extra measures to limit the spread of common colds and flu amongst their family members this winter.
There are a number of precautions you can take to try and reduce the risk of your child suffering from cold or flu. Washing your hands is one of the best ways for you to limit your child’s exposure to cold and flu germs. While most of you out there will head straight for the antibacterial agent, soap and water is as effective as anything and can actually be better as germs don’t become resilient to it and it is gentler on the skin.
General health is also so important to remaining fit and well through the cold and flu season. Making sure all your family have a healthy diet, with plenty of vitamins, fresh fruit and vegetables will help bolster immune systems but will especially help your child in fighting off germs. Likewise, rest and getting enough sleep for both yourselves and your child is essential as it helps immune systems to fight infections.
We cannot ignore preparation either, we all know what it is like when a child becomes sick and nobody wants to have to dash to the chemist, dragging a poorly child along with them. Planning can really help, saving you time and worry. Stocking your medicine cabinet with cold and flu medication, such as pain relievers or decongestants means you can be prepared to relieve symptoms when a virus strikes. Also, make sure you have a reliable, accurate thermometer to hand. Being able to monitor and accurately interpret your child’s temperature can help you better understand your child’s fever which in turn, ensures the right treatment is administered.
Fortunately, Braun healthcare have recently launched two new thermometers designed with accuracy and ease-of-use in mind. The new offerings from Braun contain innovative new technology that will make a significant difference in managing your child’s fever.
The ThermoScan® 7 ear thermometer with Age Precision®
The ThermoScan® 7 ear thermometer with Age Precision®, is the first thermometer that allows you to set the age of your child (0-3 months, 3-36 months and 36 months to adult) while a colour coded display (green for normal, yellow for elevated, red for high temperature) helps you to interpret the reading quickly and reliably. Many parents are unaware that the definition of fever changes with age – what is acceptable in a four year old can be concerning in a newborn.
The IRT6520 also includes other great features such as the pre-warmed tip, which ensures the reading is accurate by not cooling the inside of the ear where the temperature is taken. It also includes the ExacTemp® guidance system which uses a beep to let the user know that it is in the correct position.
The second thermometer, the No touch + forehead thermometer (NTF3000), offers two modes – ‘no touch’ and ‘touch’ – which allows you to take a temperature reading without having to touch your child, great for when your poorly child is asleep. Braun has added the second ‘touch’ mode for peace of mind, as it allows you to take a temperature reading in a more traditional way. With superior accuracy, the NFT3000 features an innovative optical system which captures twice as much radiated heat than traditional forehead thermometers, giving precise readings every time.
While I’ve outlined what preventative measures you can take to limit the risk of your child catching a cold or the flu, every parent knows that chances are, your child will end up suffering at some point during the year. While fever is a very common symptom amongst children, it can also be a cause for concern for many of you. For that reason, I also want to take this opportunity to outline my top ten tips for managing a child’s fever when it strikes.
1) Make sure you know how to check temperature accurately and get your child used to it too. Making it into a fun game can make the process easier, especially if they’re not feeling well. Likewise, if your child gets upset when having their temperature checked, think about using a ‘no-touch’ thermometer. You can always back it up with a ‘touch’ reading for reassurance.
2) Babies will often feed more when they are hot, both for comfort and to stay hydrated. You may find that they take less feed each time, but more often.
3) For children that have been weaned, offer them cool drinks, jelly or ice-lollies when they are bothered by fever. This is a great way to help them feel more comfortable and keep them hydrated.
4) Babies primarily lose heat through their heads, so when they are hot make sure their head is uncovered.
5) Older children will lose heat through sweating and so ensure they have regular drinks when they have a fever, to keep them hydrated.
6) Make sure that the room your child is in is a normal temperature (around 18-21 degrees centigrade), so turn down the heating or open some windows. However, it shouldn’t be so cold that it is uncomfortable.
7) Do not use tepid sponging to cool your child down. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t that effective and may actually be counter-productive.
8) There are medicines that can help to reduce your child’s temperature, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. Make sure you always follow the dosage instructions, or check with a healthcare professional if you are unsure.
9) Know when to seek further help. You should keep a close eye on your child when the thermometer reads ‘elevated’ (yellow), and seek medical advice if it reads ‘high’ (red), or if they have any other worrying signs (such as a rash, floppiness, breathing difficulties, fits or signs of dehydration).
10) Any child with a fever that lasts more than 5 days or has other worrying signs of illness should be checked by a healthcare professional.
ThermoScan® 7 ear thermometer Age Precision® (IRT6520) is priced at £49.99 and is available from Boots.
No touch + forehead thermometer (NTF3000) is priced at £52.99 and is available from Asda, Boots and all good baby specialist retailers.