Children all over the world are sure to catch the flu many times in their lives. In the U.S., flu season occurs from November and April. Because the flu has become such a worldwide problem, parents need to take preventive measures so that their kids will not catch the virus.
Flu Symptoms in Children
Flu presents with a number of troublesome symptoms such as nasal congestion, sore throat, chills, fever, dry cough, dry mouth, headache, vomiting and diarrhea. If not treated properly, it can lead to serious complications, including acute bronchitis and pneumonia.
Prevent Children From Catching the Flu
Because there is no guarantee that your child will not catch the virus, you need to take the necessary steps to lower your child’s risk of getting infected with the flu.
Make sure that your child gets his or her annual flu shot. It may be necessary to get a vaccination especially if your child is in a crowded child care center or in school, or is suffering from chronic medical disorders like diabetes or asthma. Flu shots are also needed for immune-compromised kids with cancer or HIV/AIDS.
Teach Frequent Hand Washing
Because the flu virus can be transmitted through the hands, teach your child to wash his or her hands frequently at home and in school. Have them wash their hands both before and after eating meals. The proper way to wash the hands is by rubbing the palms and backs of the hands, wrists, between the fingers, and under the fingernails vigorously with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. Obviously, a child may be unable to count the time correctly. Instead, have him or her sing inside their head the “Birthday Song” twice (this is approximately 20 to 25 seconds) as they wash their hands.
If there is no soap or water available, you can supply your child with a hand sanitizer. It should be emphasized though that hand sanitizers are not as effective as hand washing. If there is water in your child’s school or child care center, you can have them bring a bar of soap.
Boost Your Child’s Immune System
In order for your child’s body to be able to fight the flu virus, you need to take the necessary steps to boost their immune system. Give them a healthy, balanced diet, preferably with more fruits and vegetables that are rich in Vitamin C. Make sure that they are hydrated with lots of water and fluids. Take measures to reduce their stress and give them enough time to rest and sleep. In older children, you can inquire with your doctor if you can give additional multivitamin supplements.
Other Prevention Tips
- Teach your kids not to touch their eyes, noses and mouths. Also, have them cover their mouths with a tissue when they sneeze. The virus is usually spread through hand-to-hand contact and through inhalation of infected droplets in the air.
- Teach your kids to sneeze into tissues and have them throw it away immediately after use.
- Do not let your child be exposed to crowded environments especially during flu system. If you need to take your child outside and there is a flu bug going around, have them wear a surgical mask for added protection.
- Do not expose your child to sick people.
- Keep your home properly ventilated by opening your windows periodically so that fresh air can circulate in your rooms.
- By taking these preventive measures, you can minimize your child’s chances of catching the flu.