Keep them healthy

Keep them healthy

Having just settled in Durban after finishing her Paediatrics degree, Dr Stephane Maingard recently opened her paediatric practice at the Umhlanga Medical Centre. She shares her top tips for keeping kids healthy this winter.

Ensure all immunizations are up to date, including the annual flu vaccine. This will protect your child from contracting pneumonia, meningitis, ear infections and whooping cough. The influenza vaccine protects against influenza but not against other respiratory viruses.

Healthy diet. Serve a variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy products, and other nutritious foods. There are no magic foods to increase immunity. Ensure adequate consumption of water.

Hand washing. Wash them often, especially before eating or after coughing or sneezing. Tell your child to scrub with soap or use alcohol-based hand gel. Also teach them to keep their hands away from their face so they won’t transmit germs into their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Adequate sleep. Well-rested children are less likely to get sick, so make a regular bedtime nonnegotiable. A lack of sleep can disrupt the function of white blood cells called T-cells, which play an important role in helping fight off infections.

12078503 – woman at home blowing the nose of her little girl

If your child is in day care, check their ‘sick-kid policy’. Make sure your child’s day-care centre has a reasonable policy on keeping sick kids away from healthy ones. Many facilities require a child with a fever, the flu, vomiting, diarrhoea or an eye infection to stay home until these symptoms subside.

Teach children proper sneezing etiquette. Help prevent spreading colds by covering the nose and mouth with tissues when sneezing or coughing and dispose of tissues immediately afterwards. Wash hands after wiping the nose or handling tissues.

Avoid sharing toys that young children place in their mouths until the toys have been cleaned.

Avoid second hand smoke. Keep your child away from passive (second hand) smoke, as this will increase the irritation in the nose and throat.

Meet Dr Stephane Maingard
Walking into Dr Stephane Maingard’s rooms immediately takes you to a happy place. With it’s beautiful play area and brightly painted walls there is no questioning the fact that this is a children’s doctor. The recently married Stephane says she has always wanted to be a doctor and working with children is a dream come true. “I love the innocence and purity of children.”  After completing a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree at the University of Pretoria in 2009 Stephane did her internship at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg and her community service year at Klerksdorp hospital in 2012. This was where she discovered her interest in paediatrics. “The best part of my job is being a part of that magical moment when a new life that enters the world, and seeing the parents absolute delight and immediate bond with their new-born. The hardest part is working with patients who can’t always tell you exactly what’s wrong, making it difficult to put the pieces of the puzzle together.”

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Text: Monique De Villiers-Delport | Photograph: Taryn van Rensburg



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