Why Winter Health Checkups & Winter Diseases Prevention Tips for Babies?
Created by Tasneem Sariya Updated on Jan 07, 2020
The winters are fast approaching. The season that is often related to coughs, colds, and sniffles. And with a baby at home, winter health care becomes imperative. Overall baby health care in the winters is not complete without must-have health check-ups for your baby. Health check-ups are extremely important for your baby because they act as precautionary measures to avoid serious illness.
Immunity is at risk during the winters. This is true for both children and adults. Babies, on the other hand, have a very weak immune system and hence the chances of them catching infections are much higher.
Why Baby Health Check-up Important in Winter?
How many times do you need to have your baby checked by a doctor? The first baby check-up at birth is followed by another checkup usually within a week’s time. After the first and second month's baby checkup, the doctors usually see the baby once every two months until the first year. The frequency of visits tapers as the child grows up.
However, a visit to the doctor before the winter sets in completely is advised, especially if the baby is less than a year old.
Reasons Why Baby Need Health Check-ups
There are quite a few reasons why a baby health checkup is required at regular intervals. Check below
Vaccinations for Children – Infants have a list of vaccinations that they need to take in the first two years from birth. The number of vaccinations lessens as the child grows but usually last up to 10 years. Frequent baby health checkups help parents to keep track of their vaccination records. In fact, almost all pediatricians give parents a health record file that lists the vaccinations that are already given and pending for the baby. They also advise parents on when each vaccination should be taken.
Baby Health and Weight Chart – Babies reach milestones as they grow up. A regular check-up helps parents to know if the baby’s height, weight, and other growth development signs are in accordance with the normal pattern of growth. Every time you take the baby for a check-up, their weight is checked. The medical expert does a bodily checkup and assesses the way the baby is growing. In case, the child is not growing as per the average growth or average weight, then the doctor advice medication accordingly.
Seasonal Illness – Every season has its own set of issues. Summers can lead to heat strokes and monsoons mean catching bacteria and infections from water and food. Winter is when most children contract flu, cough, cold, etc. A doctor can gauge during a baby check-up whether the growth and immunity of the child can withstand the seasonal illness. For example, premature babies, asthmatic babies, etc. may be more prone to catching infections. A baby checkup can identify such issues and help parents take precautionary measures and medication.
When the Baby Falls Sick – A visit to the doctor is essential when the child falls sick. For babies around a year and less, the chances of falling sick are higher than older children. This is why again; a baby checkup is a good idea when you visiting the doctor for a cure of the illness.
What Do Doctors Check During Baby’s Checkup?
A full body examination after birth - This physical exam often includes vital signs like temperature, general appearance, skin, head, and neck, face, mouth, lungs, heart sounds, pulse, etc.
A hearing screening to make sure the baby can hear - A miniature earphone and microphone are placed in the ear, sounds are played and a response is measured.
A blood test is taken within the first few weeks of birth to know the blood count, hemoglobin, etc.
Jaundice test, In India, many hospitals also do a Jaundice test for the baby usually two to three days after birth.
The reflexes, alertness, skin, stability, eye movements of the baby
The baby’s height, weight, head circumference
As the baby grows, physical examination of its abdomen, lungs, heart, eyes, ears, mouth, head, etc.
The child’s behavior and if he/she is reaching milestones, such as rolling, crawling, sitting, etc.
The child’s emotional and psychological growth, like its reactions to stimulation, etc.
What Need to Do During Baby Immunization in Winter
From birth, the baby is given various immunization and vaccinations that are an important part of the health care. Some of the basic vaccinations that all children take include Hepatitis B, BCG, Rotavirus Vaccine, DTP, MMR, polio and more.
For winters specifically, you can check with your doctor on the immunizations or tests that your baby needs. The most common vaccination during this season is the flu shot or the influenza vaccine. It is usually recommended after 6 months.
Common Winter Illness Which Can Affect Babies & Infants
Some of the common infections and illness that your baby can catch during the winters are:
Flu and Common cold – runny nose and cough are symptoms of the common cold. Caused by different viruses this is the most common infection found in infants and children. Besides medication, steaming can also help. Keeping the baby hydrated during a cold is important. Breastfeeding or lactating mothers may increase their feed at frequent intervals.
Bronchitis – A lung disease, the symptoms are similar to a cold, with irritability and fever. The child can experience breathlessness and coughs.
Chest and Throat infections – Another common illness in children, especially during winters the congestion in the chest or throat can lead to fever, cough, and irritation. Infections and illnesses also affect the food intake of the child.
Winter vomiting – The baby vomits, has diarrhea, upset stomach or cramps, and general weakness. A doctor should be consulted immediately.
Baby Health Check-up Tips During Winter
Below is a quick health check-up checklist which you should follow:
Check your baby’s record book to know which vaccination is pending. Make sure to get your child vaccinated.
Ask your doctor for tips and precautions to be taken during the winter.
If your child has wheezing, asthma or a weak immune system, check with the doctor to carry out all the requisite tests, immunizations and treatments for the winters.
If you think your baby is catching an infection visit the doctor.
Follow basic rules, such as keeping the baby warm, having hygienic surroundings, making the baby bathe in warm water, avoid consuming cold food and drinks and so on.
The winters are one of the best seasons. With care and proper checkups, you can ensure that your baby and you enjoy it well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: When is the baby’s first checkup?
Answer: The first checkup is soon after birth. It is a thorough physical checkup of the baby, measuring height, weight, hearing and much more.
Question: What is the well-baby checkup schedule?
Answer: A well-baby checkups are regular check-ups of the baby. The first well-baby checkup is recommended within 3-5 days of birth. These are then continued in the first few weeks, months and years of the baby’s birth.
Question: Can we go out with our baby during winters?
Answer: Yes, do not force yourself to be indoors at all times. Moving out is good and healthy for both you and your child. Just make sure to cover the child well, especially the ears, neck and chest.
Question: Can we avoid vaccinations?
Answer: Absolutely not! Consult your doctor on the various vaccinations for your child and administer this time as advised.
Question: A family member has a cold. Will my baby catch it too?
Answer: Usually if a family member is sick, the chances of the baby catching the illness are quite high. Always wash your hands before interacting with the baby if you already have an infection. Try to not go too close to the baby until you are well.