How to stay healthy this Autumn

School is back, and summer is officially over! We can wave goodbye to sunburn and heat rash, and welcome in all kinds of new and shiny autumnal things… coughs, colds, eczema. I’m sure you can add some pumpkin spice to them to make them feel more autumnal.

So, with all these lovely things lurking on the horizon, what can you do to help prevent them?

Wash your hands

Children (and adults) spend all day touching things that other people have touched and coughed over. Good hand-washing hygiene is essential if you want to stay healthy.

If you have younger children, teach them to sing the alphabet, or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as they wash their hands — it will ensure they spend long enough on the task, rather than just splashing some water on them.

Catch it!

Teach your children that if they need to cough or sneeze, either direct it into the crook of their elbow, or into a tissue that can be thrown away. For those who are still dabbing (I can hear my children groaning saying “No-one dabs now mum” whilst rolling their eyes) — dab when you cough! It stops the germs from getting over surfaces, or onto your hands.


Flu vaccines are routinely given to a variety of groups (see here for full details), including:

  • children aged 2 and 3
  • children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
  • children aged 2 to 17 years at risk of flu

Flu vaccines are not a sure-fire protection from flu, but scientists work out the most likely virus strains each particular year and vaccinate against those.

Contact your GP or pharmacist if you would like further information. DocHQ app can help your find your nearest GP.


Summer has been great — long days, flexible bedtimes, no set times to wake. But with school back, children need to get back into a routine to ensure the correct amount of sleep to enable them to be as healthy as possible, and to aid in concentration.

The NHS recommends school age children need between 11 and 9 hours sleep (dropping as they get older). Stopping electronics an hour before sleep will help with more restful sleep, as will keeping screens out of the bedroom.

A warm bath can also aid with relaxation before sleep. (Although some children seem to magically wake up after a bath, so work with the type of child you have!!!)

Teenagers’ body clocks are set later than adults and younger children, meaning they want to stay up late, but also rise late. As tempting as it is to let them lie in on weekends, it is actually better for their bodies (if not their moods) to keep them in the same routine every day.

Allergies and all the sneezing

We tend to think of Spring and Summer as when pollen related allergies flare up, but there is a whole new set of tree pollen in Autumn which can cause itchy eyes, sneezing, runny noses, and generally feeling rough. As with general hay fever, tackle it with antihistamines. If you are finding yourself wheezy or coughing with it, then please contact your GP.


The ever-present gift of school children. Check their hair regularly for eggs and lice, and remove them if any are found. Wet combing, and treatment are both effective methods. For more information on how to remove them, check out the NHS Headlice page.

Food is your friend

Breakfast is essential for children to concentrate fully at school, here are some healthy options that they can eat on the go, so that even the teen that stumbles out of bed just in time to leave the house can still get breakfast.

Make sure that lunches include fruit and vegetables, even flasks of soup can be great for a nutritious lunch.

Then in the evening, the weather is turning, making it perfect for slow cooker goodness — casseroles, stews, soups (blend veggies if you have a picky eater).

Your health is your greatest asset so the better your diet, the more able you will be to fight of any bugs that are lurking out there.

Sources: 1 2

DocHQ Ltd is a Health Tech company improving choices. We help you connect efficiently to health support and advice whether you are at home, work or travelling. See our website for our services or call us on 0330 088 0645.