Protecting children from flu

Flu season this year has been declared as an emergent state in the United States. More than twenty states have reported increasing flu cases compared to previous years with increasing number of child death. There has been long wait time in the physician office or emergency room across the nation.

Can I prevent my love ones especially my child from contracting the flu? Yes, you can. There are several tips to prevent and minimize your child from getting the flu.

  • Make sure that your child gets the flu shot.

Flu season started earlier this year with more severe symptoms. It is still worthwhile to get the flu shot for your children. It does not completely prevent your child from getting the flu, but it covers some severe strains of influenza virus.

  • Good personal hygiene is always a must.

Wash your hand or at least use hand sanitizers if water and soap is not available after touching common surfaces (door knob, telephone, computers, TV remotes, tables, counters, toys, desk etc) or upon and after encounter at the common areas (doctor’s offices, hospitals, public buildings, public transportations). It is best to use warm water or hand sanitizers that contain alcohol, and wash your hand for at least 20 seconds (around the time of singing Happy Birthday song or doing a chicken dance). Here is a list of disinfectants which are effective against influenza virus.

When your child of any of your family member is sick, isolating them for the rest of the healthy family member is necessary to minimize exposure to others. Cover the mouth and nose with tissue or napkin and discard the soiled tissue right away in the proper place. Clean the hand immediately afterwards. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and or mouth area (whole face is best) in the public places.

  • Avoid contact with sick people.

Avoid common places if the incidence of flu is high in the area. It is best to minimize exposure until prevalence of flu is low. Your child might not be happy because it may mean that they would have parties and play date but this is for their best interest.

  • Try to stay healthy.

Always drink plenty of fluid and eat a good balance of food. Do not forget that good and adequate amount of rest is important, especially for children. They need at least total of 10 hours for school age and 12 hours for toddlers. Staying active is also important, for both children and adults. It is always best that both adults and children and do some activities together as a family. It promotes guidance for the children and increases the bond between the adults and children.

  • If your child happened to get the flu symptoms, give them plenty of fluids and ensure that they have plenty of rest.

Children can take some honey with lemon for the cough, if they are above 1 year old. Keep them warm, make them wear warm clothes. If symptoms are severe enough you can use humidifier or vaporizer along with saline nasal drops to make them feel less congested and able to breathe better. Use medication to relieve fever and achy symptoms such as acetaminophen/Tylenol or ibuprofen/Motrin. Your child may be a candidate for antiviral medication such as Tamiflu (oseltamivir) or Relenza (zanamivir) within the first 48 hours of sickness. Antiviral medication can shorten the symptoms and length of illness.


Read more about flu shot here.

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Always consult your on pediatrician or family doctor if you have any health related question!