Top Tips for Keeping Well

Top Tips for Keeping Well


"The winter period can see an increase in some of the common seasonal viruses which disrupt children's education and cause more serious illnesses," says Dr Catherine Falconer from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). UK health officials say by following advice parents can protect their children as well as the wider community.


1. Regular hand-washing

  • use soap and warm water for 20 seconds or hand sanitiser to clean hands regularly
  • stop infections spreading by using tissues to catch coughs and sneezes, bin them afterwards and then wash hands (again)

Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of viruses, the experts say, because they can live on our hands.


2. Stop the spread of stomach bugs

Sickness bugs are on the up, and that means more children could have diarrhoea and vomiting. If affected –

  • use bleach-based products to clean surfaces to help prevent bugs from spreading (along with washing hands with soap)
  • do not prepare food for others if you have symptoms, or for 48 hours after they stop
  • do not to return to work, school or nursery until two days after symptoms end.


3. Know when to keep your child at home

  • children should stay at home from school or nursery if they have a high temperature (fever) and are unwell
  • children with diarrhoea and/or vomiting should wait for 48 hours before going back, to stop the spread of stomach bugs
  • children with a runny nose, sore throat or slight cough - without a high temperature – can still attend school or nursery


Scarlet fever and chickenpox can also spread at this time of year, and cases usually peak in late winter and early spring.

Scarlet fever symptoms include:

  • sore throat
  • fever
  • swollen neck glands
  • a bumpy rash on the tummy
  • flushed cheeks
  • "a strawberry tongue" - so called because it means the tongue looks a bit like a strawberry.

Contact your local GP if you see the signs and keep children away from school and nursery for 24 hours after the first dose of antibiotics.


Chickenpox is highly contagious - the most common symptom is an itchy, spotty rash. Keep children off school until all the spots have crusted over.


4. Get vaccinated

There is a "quick and painless" nasal spray for children which offers the best protection against flu, UKHSA says. The vaccine uptake among pre-school children is lower than other groups, despite the illness sometimes being more serious for this age group.

There has also been a drop in uptake of other childhood vaccinations, which protect against diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria and polio.

The advice is to make sure make sure your child is up to date with all their vaccinations.


5. Take online advice from NHS resources

The health service has plenty of advice for parents, such as: