We’re in the middle of flu season again and germs are everywhere. There has been a lot of sickness going around and somehow me and my family have managed to escape it until now. Last week my 9 month old baby contracted a fever of 102 degrees which persisted for three days. Luckily it wasn’t too serious– nothing a little medicine and sleep couldn’t handle– but when I took my baby to her pediatrician to be checked he told me that incidences of RSV and influenza are skyrocketing, especially in children (See Graph 1). Thankfully, my baby’s fever broke yesterday and seems to be in the clear now, without any symptoms of RSV or the flu. However, with several more months of flu season to go, I want to take all the preventative measures I can to keep those nasty disease out of my house and away from my family.
How to Prevent the Flu
As a parent of a child who puts her month on pretty much everything she comes in contact with, I know that eliminating germs can be difficult…actually it is impossible. And while there is no way to guarantee that youngsters won’t come down with the flu, there are a few preventive measures we as parents can take to reduce the risk of getting sick.
First things first; take you and your family to get the flu vaccine!
While getting vaccinated doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you will not get the flu, it is the simple way to protect you and your family from it. Getting a flu vaccine can reduce your chance of getting the flu by 60 to 80 percent. I know that taking the time and money to go get poked with a needle isn’t the most ideal, but it is better then having to put your life on hold for a good week while you lay in bed completely miserable. If nothing else at least take your children to get vaccinated since they are at high risk of complications and hospitalization from the flu.
Secondly, wash your hand frequently!
Washing your hands is probably the most effective measure to prevent the flu after being vaccinated. Make it habit in your home and teach your children to wash their hands well and often. Hands should be rubbed vigorously using soap and warm water for at least 20 second paying close attention to the backs of hands, wrists, between the fingers, and under the fingernails.
Lastly, boost your immune systems!
Providing your family with a nutritionally sound diet; encouraging them to get plenty of physical activity; giving them plenty of water; reducing the amount of stress in their lives; and ensuring they get enough rest are the most effective ways to boost their immune systems and prevent them from getting the flu.
- Encourage children to keep their hands out of their noses, eyes and mouths. Germs are frequently spread in this manner.
- Disinfect/clean children’s toys frequently.
- Teach children to sneeze into a tissue, and discard it immediately after each use.
- Keep little ones out of crowded environments whenever possible.
- Avoid contact with sick people
For more information about influenza, RVS, or other respiratory virus visit the links below. I hope these tips help and keep you and your family clear of any sickness!