8 common winter diseases in India and how to protect your child from them

Here are the 8 most common yet dreaded winter diseases every child faces and how to keep them at bay by taking a couple of precautions.

Yes, many of us are happy that the hot and humid weather is finally over, but let's not forget that winter in many parts of India is extremely cold, though some of us down south only feel a slight chill.

The most to get affected by every change of season is undoubtedly the kids, who tend to develop winter diseases and symptoms that put every mother in a tizzy.

Here are the 8 most common yet dreaded winter diseases every child faces and how to keep them at bay by taking a couple of precautions.



1) Common Cold & Fever

Symptoms: Kids start feeling weak, sniff quite a few times, complain of a headache, body ache, cough and lack of taste.

Causes: General impact on kids with low immunity due to change in weather, exposure to an infected individual's cough.

Precautions: Avoid feeding your child anything cold, or that causes mucous such as curd or banana especially at night. Feed kids more of vitamin C enriched fruits and vegetables such as oranges, pineapples and nuts to boost immunity.

Treatment: Home-made kaadha prepared with tulsi leaves, peppercorns, grated ginger, and honey. Paracetamol, warm simple food and in severe cases, consult a doctor.

2) Tonsil Infection

Symptoms: Irritation of the throat, pain in the throat, enlarged tonsils, unable to gulp food or liquids.

Causes: Eating anything cold, virus or bacteria in the air.

Precautions: Avoid feeding your child anything cold when the weather is cold. Cover their ears and neck when the wind is too strong, or before sleeping under a fan/ AC.  Feed kids more of vitamin C enriched fruits and vegetables and nuts to boost immunity. Gargle with warm water every day with a hint of salt.

Treatment: Gargle with warm water with a hint of salt. Consult a doctor.

3) Lice

Symptoms: Itchy scalp, irritation, headache, scalp turning red, feeling of something walking on the scalp.

Causes: Poor hair hygiene, being very close to a person infected with lice/ using their products.

Precautions: Keep your kids away from a person infected with lice, or refrain them from using their bedding/hair comb etc.

Treatment: Anti-lice shampoos and combing. Maintain proper hair hygiene. Disinfecting bedding, towels, and combs.

4) Acute Ear Infection

Symptoms: Ear pain, Blocked Ears, Itchy Ears.

Causes: Excessive cold may result into an acute ear infection. Another cause of bacterial ear infection is due to moisture in the ear. A ear infection can occur even overnight, so it is best to identify it at the earliest.

Precautions: Treat the cold immediately before it hampers the lungs, ears and sinusitis. After a swimming session, shower or beach trip, make sure your child's ears are clean and dry.

Treatment: Consult a doctor.

5) Bronchiolitis

Symptoms: A virus that impacts children, mostly under the age of two, bronchiolitis is a swelling and mucus buildup within the smallest lung air passages, according to UMMC.

The CDC and UMMC recommend washing hands frequently as the easiest way to prevent the spread of any of the illnesses. Disinfect countertops, door knobs, and other frequently touched surfaces often.

Causes: It most commonly is caused by a viral infection and is spread from person to person when coming in direct contact with nose and throat fluids of someone carrying the virus.

Precautions: Try to cover your kid's mouth in a crowded or polluted space. Make them take steam when experience discomfort in breathing.

Treatment: Consult a doctor.

6) Stomach Flu (Viral Gastroenteritis)

Symptoms: Abdominal pain, diarrhea, excessive flatulence, vomiting, and fever.

Causes: Infected water and food and unclean hands. Your child is highly infectious for as long as she has diarrhea, and the virus can live in her stool for several weeks after that.

Precautions: Be careful of where your child is eating. Also, make sure the child's hand is washed well before he eats.

Treatment: Consult a doctor. Make sure the child is well hydrated with a lot of liquids.

7) Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Symptoms: Painful, blister-like sores in the mouth and bumps on the palms, fingers, and soles of the feet, often accompanied by fever. Depending on the severity of the sores, your child may not want to eat, drink, or walk.

Causes: It is transmitted from one person to another. Usually where hygiene is an issue, like a daycare or school.

Precautions: Avoid anything tarty, salty or spicy food for your kids. The coxsackievirus can remain in your child's stool for several weeks, so wash your hands thoroughly after a diaper change. Make sure the hygiene in the house, daycare/school is well maintained.

Treatment: Consult a doctor.

8) Chicken Pox

Symptoms: In the month of December, it's not just festive cheer that's in the air - there are several airborne diseases that are active during this time of the year till the beginning of Spring. One of the most contagious diseases in the world, chickenpox, is one such disease. The child will have bumps/ blisters that are itchy and contagious, rashes.

Causes: Infection in the air, direct contact with an infected individual.

Precautions: Timely vaccination and distance from an infected person. Keeping neem leaves in the house or taking bath with soaked neem leaves also help.

Treatment: If it is detected at an early stage, light medications can help treat this. Avoid itching, but tap on the infected area instead. Usually, for severe cases, doctors advise stronger medicines and confinement. Always consult a doctor and keep all daily clothes and items used by the infected kid separate.

Also Read: Childhood illnesses that all parents need to know