The flu season is in full swing, and if you’re a parent, you are either waiting fearfully, dealing with a sick child, or have already gone through the hell of watching your child be sick. Not only is it the absolute worst to see your child suffer, but they will also miss school, and possibly spread germs throughout the whole house.
There are things you can do to keep your kids (and yourself) healthy throughout this flu season. Here are a few tips:
1. Get the Flu Shot
Do not believe the myth that the flu shot will give you the flu. It most definitely will not. In a recent article by Dr. Gary A. Emmett, M.D., F.A.A.P., he talks about how if most of the population were vaccinated, even with only a 23% flu resistance this year, almost no one would catch the flu. So get to your doctor, and take your kids with you. Besides a few days of being a little sore, there are few side effects and you will not catch the flu. (Read here)
2. Wash Your Hands
Think about all the things you touch in a day. Now, think about all the people who also touch those same things before or after you. The most proven way to get rid of germs is to wash them off, with SOAP and WATER. Do not think that rinsing your hands with water after using the rest room will cut it. It won’t. You are merely moving around the germs. Use an antibacterial soap and scrub up for 30 seconds or more. Hand sanitizers can help in a pinch, but remember that most of them don’t kill the germs that cause the stomach bug (Norovirus).
3. Spray with Lysol
Now, this is certainly not a marketing ploy for you to use a certain product, but Lysol III kills influenza and the Norovirus. Not many disinfectant sprays or wipes do, so put it on your list the next time you hit the grocery store. Spray weekly; things like doorknobs, light switches, countertops, water faucets, and anything else that people touch often.
4. Keep Your Hands to Yourself…And Off Yourself
It may sound silly, or simple, but keeping your hands off your face and off of others can keep germs from spreading. Most germs are absorbed into the body by way of the eyes, nose, and mouth. Washing your hands is the first step, but by not touching your face, you are preventing any leftover or hitchhiker germs to get into your system. When it comes to your kids, remind them to keep their hands to themselves, and off of others.
5. Don’t Share
After all the teaching you’ve done with your kids to get them to share, here’s where you need to teach them not to. Utensils, cups, and other things are definitely a no-go. When it comes to toys and such, it’s extremely hard to keep kids from sharing when they are in school or daycare. Which leads us to our next recommendation.
6. Stay Home
Whether it’s you or your kids who are sick, stay home! Often, the flu starts spreading in small areas like work and school. If you stay home when you have the flu, you can prevent others from getting it. Another reason to stay home…the flu can be contagious in adults for a week, and even longer in kids. So even after you are feeling somewhat better, you can still spread the flu germs.
Most flu symptoms are gone in a week, maybe two. If you see symptoms in your kids that are not typical of the flu, like confusion, prolonged lethargy, getting better and then getting worse, or trouble breathing, call your doctor right away. Make sure your child (or you) stays hydrated and gets plenty of rest. Don’t push yourself, especially if you are a parent. And keep your kids from doing too much too soon as well. Most cases of the flu go away quickly with rest and fluids.