As a parent, flu season is always a challenging time of the year and so far 2018 has been no exception. There have been millions of reported cases this season, making it one of the worst in almost a decade. One of the best ways to help prevent your child from contracting the flu is to be proactive, here are some tips you can follow.
According to the CDC, everyone 6 months and older needs to get a yearly vaccine. Parents and guardians should definitely follow this recommendation, since they can easily pass along the virus. The vaccine is prepared yearly to combat the strains expected to cause the biggest problem. Sometimes the vaccines miss the mark, meaning your vaccinated child can still get the flu, but it’s still a good practice to follow.
You and your child need to frequently wash your hands with soap and water, particularly during flu season. Have them wash their hands after going out in public where the flu virus lurks. If they are around anyone who is sick, again, have them wash their hands.
Remind them not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth. Your preschool child will have a particularly difficult time with this step, but you can try to minimize the behavior. You should also regularly disinfect toys as well as bathroom and kitchen surfaces to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Don’t make your child a hermit, but do keep them away from sick people as much as possible. That means no visiting family when one of the cousins is ill. Cancel playdates if necessary and try to avoid public places where a large number of other potentially sick children may be playing.
If someone in your home becomes ill, keep them separate from the rest of the family. This can be especially tricky with young siblings, but try to get creative about keeping the one that is recovering away from the ones that aren’t sick.
One tip is to create an adventure for them by building a fort with the pillows and blankets in their room and let them watch a movie on a tablet or phone by themselves. Another idea is to set them up with an activity like drawing, Play-Doh or an educational game on a laptop to keep them busy.
A healthy immune system protects against catching colds and the flu. Encourage your child to exercise regularly and eat a well-balanced diet. When healthy children do catch the flu, they are better able to fight off its debilitating effects. They will be less likely to end up in the hospital or have a prolonged recovery period. You should also maintain your health. You don’t want to be the one who brings the virus home to your child.
While the flu is a common affliction, you should never take it for granted. Get the vaccine for all eligible members of your family. Stress good hygiene and stay away from sick people. Limit your socializing during flu season and spend quality time with your family instead. Finally, emphasize healthy practices all year long. A healthy child has a better chance at avoiding the flu.