Many parents dread the annual flu season. Some seasons prove to be mild with relatively few people getting sick; other seasons are severe and witness thousands of people falling ill to this common sickness. Regardless of this flu season’s forecast, you as a parent want to take every precaution to keep your children healthy. You can use these six strategies to keep the flu at bay and safeguard your family’s health.
Every year, flu vaccines are given copiously by healthcare providers throughout the country. You can take the first step in keeping your kids flu-free this winter by getting them vaccinated.
This strategy can be particularly vital if you have children who are immuno-compromised or who have underlying health conditions that can make the flu especially deadly. Kids with the following conditions should get the flu shot as early as possible in the season to keep them healthy:
- Heart disease
If you have children who are otherwise healthy, you can choose to protect them with either the nasal spray mist or the injected vaccine. Having all of your kids vaccinated can be vital if at least one of them has an underlying health condition or if you or your husband have health concerns for which you must protect your immune systems.
Cover Sneezes and Coughs
Because you cannot keep your kids out of school or away from the public during flu season, you can protect their health by teaching them how to properly cough and sneeze etiquette. Rather than cough or sneeze into the open air, your children should be taught to cover their noses and mouths with a tissue or to cough or sneeze into the crook of their elbow.
This precaution can prevent them from infecting others around them with the flu virus. It can also help them avoid breathing in viruses in the air around them.
Keep Hands and Surfaces Clean
Kids are notorious for touching their faces without washing their hands first. Whatever germs they have on their hands invariably get into their bodies through their eyes, noses, and mouths.
You can protect their health this winter by keeping their hands clean and by disinfecting surfaces around your home. Giving them a bottle of hand sanitizer to take with them to school, teaching them to wash their hands often and wiping down doorknobs, doors, toilet handles, counters and other surfaces with bleach can go a long way in keeping the flu virus out of your house this season.
Keep Secondhand Smoke Away
Secondhand smoke from cigars, cigarettes, pipes and other tobacco products is known to greatly reduce a person’s immune response to viruses and germs. You should make it a priority to keep secondhand smoke out of your house entirely in your bid to keep your kids safe during the flu season.
When your kids are exposed to smoke, their immune systems lower their defenses to influenza, as well as the common cold and other infections. If your children are exposed to these germs, they cannot fight off the infections and end up getting sick. Rather than allow your children’s health to be compromised in such a way, you should tell people to avoid smoking in your house.
Exercise and Eat Right
Keeping your kids’ bodies healthy this flu season can also play a vital role in keeping this sickness at bay this winter. When your children eat right, exercise and get plenty of sleep, they enjoy better immunity to common diseases like the flu.
Some strategies you can use to get your family to eat right, get exercise and rest include:
- Joining an indoor sports league or gym
- Fixing balanced meals with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Avoiding late nights and getting the recommended amount of sleep each night
Stay away from Sick People
As basic as this suggestion seems, you can actually have a significant impact in keeping your children healthy by keeping them away from sick people. When you know that a friend, neighbor or family member is sick with the flu or even a bad cold, you should keep your own children away from that person.
Likewise, you should keep your children home if they are sick, even if the illness seems mild at first. This precaution helps your kids avoid infecting others around them; it also prevents them from picking up a secondary infection that could grow into a more serious illness, like pneumonia or bronchitis.
These six strategies can help you keep your children safe and healthy during the annual flu season. Despite influenza being a common illness, it can have dire consequences, especially in people who have underlying health challenges. Rather than risk your kids’ wellness, you and your family can survive the flu season by utilizing these tips.