This blog looks at the children’s health challenges this winter and the ways in which health visitors and school nurses, as clinicians and local service leaders, can advise and support families and young people in protecting their health through the Healthy Child program.
Supporting families and communities
Health visitors and school nurses continue to be an integral part of responding to and recovering from the pandemic. They provide evidence-based clinical interventions and support families and communities through indirect effects and “hidden harm”, especially among most vulnerable children and families.
During the pandemic Health visitors and School nurses have found various ways to connect with children and families to ensure the healthy child program continues through all stages of COVID-19 restrictions.
Winter is a time when we traditionally see a lot of coughs and colds in children. Some winter sicknesses peak earlier this year as mixing has been limited due to lockdown restrictions, meaning children haven’t been exposed to many of the viruses they would normally have. Health visiting teams and school nurses will play an important role in ensuring parents are aware of these diseases and they will be in a good position to encourage and encourage parents to provide information to support the health and wellbeing of their children and to protect others To give hints.
As winter approaches, health visiting and school nursing services can use their clinical and public health literacy, as well as their trusting relationships with children, families and communities, to raise awareness of winter health issues and how to treat or prevent them. They can offer health promotion and prevention strategies, including vaccinations, such as B. the seasonal flu vaccine, which is available as a pain-free nasal spray for school children.
An early climax winter sickness that health visitors and school nurses will know is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV cases are higher than we would expect at this time of year as fewer infections occurred last winter due to various COVID-19 restrictions. Although the number of respiratory infections in young children is still low, it is expected that they will increase during the winter months.
Most cases of RSV are mild and go away within 2 to 3 weeks without needing treatment, although some children have severe symptoms and may need to be hospitalized. The early symptoms are similar to those of the cold, like a runny nose, a cough and a high temperature.
Prevent diseases this winter
Here are some of the key prevention messages that will be very important during health visits and the family of school nurses, as well as during winter clinical interventions:
- Recall Standard Infection Control Procedures: Transmission can be reduced by using standard infection control practices such as good respiratory hygiene, hand washing with soap and warm water, and keeping surfaces clean.
- If you feel unwell, avoid close contact with newborns: People with a cold should ideally avoid close contact with newborns, premature babies (before 37 weeks), children under 2 years of age with heart or lung diseases and those with a weakened immune system.
- prevention: The vaccination (palivizumab) was brought forward to the usual start date in October and is offered to young children with the highest risk for Complications from RSVto reduce the risk of hospitalization for the most vulnerable.
- Non-smoking household: Smoking around young children is also a risk factor if you have severe RSV infection. To help people get advice on how to quit, there are a number of free NHS resources that you can guide you to.
As always, one of the most important pieces of advice health visitors and school nurses can give parents is to point out the importance of making sure their child is up to date with their child vaccination program. This program provides vital protection for children and adolescents and leads to indirect protection for those around them, including infants, the elderly and those in clinical risk groups.
In recent years, the number of children receiving critical vaccinations like their MMR vaccine, which protects against serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases like measles, has decreased. This decline was exacerbated by the pandemic.
As public health nurses, health visitors and school nurses play an important role in winter planning, especially during this early peak of uncommon winter sickness. With their leadership, public health expertise, and connections with children and families, they can provide advice, guidance, and confidence while helping parents keep their children healthy.
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