Flu season is upon us and this year, it's off to a particularly rough start. With potentially a couple of months to go before flu season is officially over, while these 5 tips can't completely get rid of your child's chance of getting the flu, but they can help to reduce the risk.
1. Get the flu vaccine - Getting the flu vaccine doesn't reduce your child's chance of getting the flu to zero but it is highly effective and one of the best measures in place to prevent getting the flu. Even in instances where you child has gotten the flu vaccine but still gets the flu, the vaccine increases their ability to fight it and getting the vaccine can help to shorten the time it takes for them to fight it, lessen the severity of it and help to prevent further complications from developing if they do get the flu.
2. Keep germs at bay - This can be hard to do with kids, especially if you have more than one. It can also be hard if you have a child in daycare or in school where germs spread fast. You can help your own children to keep their germs from spreading by teaching them to cover their mouths when they cough and their noses when they sneeze. You can also teach them to wash their hands frequently, especially after coughing into them or blowing their nose. If a child that your child plays with is sick and you suspect its the flu, you can keep your child away from them while they get better and vice versa. While there is very little that you can do to keep other parents from sending a sick kid to school, you can keep you kid at home if they are sick to prevent the further spread of germs.
3. Disinfect - If someone in your home is sick, to prevent it from spreading to other people in the family, you can try to keep them isolated to a particular room in the house. Make sure to clean and disinfect any surfaces or door handles that the sick person may have touched to help keep the germs from spreading. This includes toys too, especially if there are younger children in the house that make a regular habit of putting toys in their mouths.
4. Practice good self care - Taking good care of yourself won't scare germs away but it will help to strengthen your immune system which may lessen your odds of catching the flu and help you to fight it should you catch it. Taking care of yourself means making sure that you and your kids eat a proper balanced diet, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and get out to exercise or play daily.
5. Watch for flu symptoms - In the event that you've done everything that you can but your child still gets the flu, your best line of defense is to catch it quickly and treat it. A sick child needs plenty of rest and plenty of fluids. Taking care of a sick child is incredibly hard for a parent because you feel helpless but rest assured, your comfort is doing more for them than you think. If your child is running a fever, medical professionals advise giving Tylenol, Advil or Motrin to help reduce the fever. Use any of your other favorite home remedies to treat symptoms and provide relief to your sick child. If caught early enough and your child is taken to the doctor, it's possible that your doctor will recommend an antiviral like Tamiflu or Relenza to help fight the virus.
Most healthy adults and children will recover from the flu just fine as it naturally runs its course. Parents are always advised to look for complications like difficulty breathing, symptoms that don't appear to get better after enough time has elapsed or symptoms that appear to get worse after getting better. Complications resulting from the flu can lead to serious medical conditions and the best way to avoid this happening is to be proactive and treat them as soon as possible.