Spring into health

Stay healthy when you're out and about with these professional tips

Image: courtesy of Raffles Medical 
It’s getting warmer (well, gradually) and spring is coming, one of the best times of the year in Beijing. Dr Thi Lan Fellay, paediatrician and family physician at International SOS Beijing Clinic, gives tips on how to stay healthy.

Prepare for hayfever
In Beijing we generally see an increase in hay fever-type of allergies in April which will usually last two to four weeks while there is pollen in the air. Typical symptoms include sneezing, runny noses and watery eyes. The most common treatments include antihistamines, nasal sprays, eye drops and sometimes asthma medication.

Watch the wind
Another effective measure to keep your allergies under control is reducing your exposure. Therefore, families might want to avoid spending too much time outside on windy days – the best time to go outdoors is after a good rain. If you use HEPA air purifiers at home, these can also be effective in removing any pollen that has made it indoors.

Beware of chickenpox
Chickenpox is a virus that occurs most frequently at the end of winter and at the beginning of spring. It also most commonly occurs in children who are below 10 years old. To prevent the spread of infection, anyone who has chickenpox should remain at home until the rash has crusted over – this usually takes five to seven days after the rash appears. Teaching the kids to maintain good hygiene habits by washing their hands regularly and avoiding touching their face can also help prevent infection.

Wash your food
In Beijing, we also see an increase in gastro cases – vomiting and diarrhea – as the weather warms up. To help prevent this, ensure that all fresh food is kept refrigerated. Also be sure that all fruit and vegetables are washed and peeled before consuming. Good hygiene will also help prevent these unwanted stomach upsets.

Avoid the mozzies
Don’t forget, the warmer weather is also attractive to mosquitoes that can carry Japanese encephalitis (JE), particularly in the rural areas. If you’re going out at dusk or dawn, ensure that insect repellent is used and that everyone in the family is up to date with their JE vaccinations.

Enjoy the weather
Spring is a wonderful time of year, so take advantage of the warmer weather and get outside and be active. Enjoy the range of delicious, fresh produce and why not try adding something new to your diet. With a few simple precautions, you can keep your family safe and healthy and really enjoy the change in season.

International SOS Clinic Suite 105, Wing 1, Kunsha Building 16 Xinyuanli, Chaoyang district (6462 9100; www.internationalsos.com/clinicsinchina/en/Beijing.aspx). Open 24 hours. 朝阳区新源里16号琨莎中心1座105号
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