It's Not Too Late to Protect Your Family from the Flu!
“As many parents already know, every day steps can help protect their child from the flu,” said Martin Lustick, M.D., a pediatrician and senior vice president and corporate medical director for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
“Parents should reinforce to their children the importance of frequently washing their hands with soap and water,” he said. “Children, for example, could try washing their hands for as long as it takes them to sing the Happy Birthday song twice.”
Also, when children cough or sneeze, they should cover their mouth or nose with a tissue, immediately throwing the tissue away. If a tissue isn’t available, they should cough or sneeze into their upper arm, not their hand.
Lustick offered several other tips for parents:
- Try to keep your child away from people who are sick. If anyone in your household catches the flu, try to keep that person in a room away from others.
- Children should try to avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread this way.
- Help your child be healthy. They should get plenty of sleep, exercise, drink a lot of fluids and eat healthy foods.
- Keep surfaces in your home clean. Use a disinfectant to wipe down bedside tables, bathroom surfaces, kitchen counters and toys for children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu shot.
You still need a flu shot every fall or winter regardless of whether you received the seasonal and/or the H1N1 flu shot last season. The 2010-2011 flu vaccine protects against this year’s seasonal flu strains, including the H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.
Flu shots are available from your physician and at many local pharmacy chains. Don’t forget to check whether your flu shot provider is included in your health insurer’s provider network.
The following link includes a list of local vaccination clinics:
Sesame Street public service announcements regarding the flu, featuring Elmo and Sid the Science Kid: http://www.flu.gov/psa/index.html#elmo
A flu guide for parents:
Children, the flu and the flu vaccine
Pregnancy and the flu
Flu myths and realities: http://www.flu.gov/myths/index.html