With the flu season in full swing, it can be difficult to keep you and your child from contracting the virus. The flu season is most active from the months of December and March. A fair amount of people have a misconception that if they are fine now, the flu will not pose a danger to their health if they catch it. While certain groups are more at risk and vulnerable when it comes to the flu (such as those who suffer from immune deficiency conditions), it does not indicate that healthier children and individuals cannot be impacted. Any and everyone can be at risk of facing serious complications of the flu, which is why it is essential to take preventative steps. Pediatrics On Demand has listed out some healthy habits for parents to practice with their children as precautionary measures to help keep kids healthy this flu season.
Get Your Family Vaccinated As Soon As Possible
Making sure that each and every one of your family members received their flu shot is the first and one of the most important steps parents can take to keep their children from catching the flu. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) strongly recommends an annual flu shot before the peak of the flu season for everyone ages six months and older. September through October is an optimal time to receive the flu shot. The CDC has based this advice on the best scientific evidence available.
Always Practice Proper Hand Washing
All it takes is one lazy act of skipping handwashing that can lead to weeks of staying in bed in order to fight the flu. Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of an infection, especially if you’re starting to get an infection. This simple action is vital for adults and parents to practice with children. According to the CDC, cleaning your hands at key times with soap and water is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to those around you. Washing your hands with warm water and soap for sixty seconds is best recommended to avoid lingering germs.
Avoid Contact With Your Face
Another easy, yet major, way of protecting yourself and your children from getting the flu is by avoiding touching your face. More specifically, it is best that you avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as these areas are where cold and flu viruses typically gain the most access for infection. If touching these areas is absolutely inevitable, parents and children should wash their hands with soap and water before all else.
Cover Your Coughs and Sneezes
When you sneeze or cough, it is especially important to cover your nose and mouth. The CDC states that children and adults with the flu can spread it to others up to about six feet away. So if your child is already in school and going to work is a daily thing for parents, it is important to make sure that you are covering your nose and mouth. It is also important for children to throw used tissue away in the trash. If tissues are not available for use, sneezing into your elbow or into your shirt is also a good choice.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Practicing healthy living habits is equivalent to a healthy immune system. This calls for getting enough sleep on the daily, eating balanced meals and exercising frequently. These habits are all things you can do to strengthen a child’s immune system and to avoid the risk of catching the flu. It can also be helpful to keep your child away from areas where second-hand smoke is prevalent. Lastly, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables can help boost a child’s immune system as well.
Keep Children at Home to Rest and Get Well
The body needs time to recuperate and fight against illness. Working for hours on end, day-by-day can impede the rate at which you or your child can ward off the flu. Taking a few days off from work or school may be necessary. According to the CDC, people with flu are the most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins. Children and other individuals with weakened immune systems can pass the virus for longer than seven days. If you or your child do get sick with the flu, it is best to try and isolate yourself from others to avoid spreading the virus. If you or your child are sick with a flu-like illness, it is recommended that you stay home for at least twenty-four hours after your fever has gone down, except for when seeking medical care.
Choose Pediatrics On Demand For Preventative Care and More!
At Pediatrics On Demand, we advocate for parents to take all the necessary steps to keep their child in the healthiest state possible. If your child has the flu or is experiencing flu-like symptoms, contact Pediatrics On Demand to make an appointment or for our walk-in services today.