This year’s flu season has been especially prominent, not only in its duration, but also in the number of reported cases of the flu in children and adults. These tips will help you protect your child during flu season:
Get the Vaccine Early
The flu shot, while not 100% effective, can help your child avoid the flu and can also contribute to an overall decrease in the strength and length of flu season. Because children under 5 are at a heightened risk for severe and life-threatening flu complications, it is especially important to fully vaccinate them whenever possible. In fact, the CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months old get the vaccine, and if your child is 8 or older, they will need two doses of the vaccine: one as soon as it becomes available and one 28 days after the first dose.
Practice Good Hygiene
Teaching your child how to properly and frequently wash their hands can help prevent them from catching and spreading the flu. Do your best to explain germs in an age-appropriate way, and encourage your child to wash their hands after coughing or sneezing, using the bathroom, playing outside, shaking hands, touching animals, and before they touch food. It’s also important to teach your child to cough and sneeze into a tissue or into their sleeve. You can also do your part by sanitizing doorknobs and other surfaces that are frequently touched.
Watch for Symptoms
The most commons flu symptoms in kids are: sudden fever, chills, dry cough, sore throat, headache, fatigue, feeling achy, diarrhea, upset stomach, runny or stuffed nose, trouble sleeping, and loss of appetite.
Seek Early Treatment
Especially if your child is 6 months to 8 years old, it’s important that you seek treatment early to prevent serious complications. Your child’s pediatrician may prescribe Tamiflu for kids or other anti-viral medicines to help prevent the flu from progressing.