There’s no doubt about it. Cold and flu season is a sure thing and it’s on the rise this year. Cold and flu season may bring body aches and fever, but there are precautions you can take to keep illness at bay.
Before the virus knocks you and your family out, try these tips to prepare for colds and flu.
Practice proper hand washing
Proper hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent colds and flu. And it’s easy to do and easy to teach to children. Start with warm water and your anti-bacterial soap. Work the lather for 20 seconds, paying extra attention to fingernails and jewelry. Then rinse and dry your hands. Disposable towels are best so you can use them to turn off the water. This will protect you from putting germs from the faucet right back on your hands.
Keep your hands away from your face
Another easy way to protect yourself is to keep your hands away from your face. Specifically, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. These are the areas where cold viruses gain entry into your system. The same bug that gives you a cold can cause viral pink eye. Keeping your hands away will keep any cold germs on them away as well. If you need to touch these areas, wash your hands before and after.
Limit Who Your Child Is Around
If your child is recovering from the flu, consider who they should and shouldn’t visit. Keep sick children away from those who have weakened immunity, such as elderly relatives or people with severe illnesses. When at home, keep a sick child separate from the rest of the family. In addition, keep your child at home from school or daycare if they have a fever, and make sure your sick babysitter or nanny is not around them.
You don’t need to spend all day spraying every surface with disinfectant. You may just want to disinfect some heavily touched items — like doorknobs, remote controls, and phones — each day.
Know When to Call a Pediatrician
Consult with your child’s pediatrician about when to call if illness strikes. If your child has difficulty breathing and seems as though they can’t catch their breath, don’t hesitate to call the pediatrician. If your child just doesn’t seem like himself, trust your instincts and get your child seen by the doctor. It may be helpful to understand the current flu severity in your area, as well.
Get a flu vaccine
Getting a yearly flu vaccine is an important step in preventing the flu. The flu spreads differently than colds and is very contagious. People can spread the flu a day before symptoms even show up. And the vaccine can protect you against the most common strains of the flu. It changes each year based on predictions for the upcoming flu season. The vaccine is usually available by October, but you can get it any time during the flu season.
Your best defense against seasonal flu is getting an annual flu shot. This vaccine is available at all three Urgent Care Network of Omaha clinics.
Have a Backup Child Care Plan
If your nanny calls in sick, your child’s not feeling well enough to go to school or you’re feeling under the weather yourself, you’re going to need a backup child care plan.
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