My son has been in school for 2 weeks and has already been sick twice. Kids are especially susceptible to viruses due to their ignorance of germs, hand-washing, and generally anything sanitary. Flu season is right around the corner. You thought your kid was whiny with a cold, well they will be even more whiny with a flu.
Here are 7 ways to combat the flu in kids:
1) Get your kid his flu shot. There is a lot of controversy over the safety of flu shots; I even have reservations about them. For the 2014-2015 flu season, the CDC reports that two vaccinations are available and safe. Flucelvax is flu vaccine licensed in the United States and produced using cultured animal cells instead of fertilized chicken eggs. Flublok is the second vaccine and is made using recombinant techniques and also does not use eggs. I would recommend doing some research on flu vaccines and the two that are currently available if you have reservations about them.
2) Wash your hands and their hands. As parents we go to work, touch desk and table surfaces, door knobs, and keyboards all day. All of these surfaces are teaming with germs. It is important that we wash our hands before eating and after work. I keep hand sanitizer in my car. Before I get near my son, I make sure to cleanse my hands. Kids come into contact with other sick kids and germ-y surfaces as well. My son is required to wipe his hands with a wet nap before entering his classroom, and upon entering the car at the end of the day, I cleanse his hands with sanitizer again.
3) Stop smoking. Smoking attacks your immune system by depressing the antibodies and cells that protect against virus. Kids that are constantly immersed in second-hand smoke can also suffer from a depressed immune system. So if you can’t stop, at least stop smoking around your kids, in the home, and inside the car.
4) Avoid touching your face. This is hard for me as an adult to do. For my son, it is even more difficult. So on occasion we play a game – See Who Can Go the Longest Without Touching Their Face. Whoever wins gets a treat!
5) Eat your fruits and veggies. We don’t eat enough fruits and veggies in my house. My son is an incredibly picky-eater whose fresh fruit selection doesn’t extend past bananas and tangerines. But if that’s what he will eat, I will keep the fridge stocked full. Find ways to incorporate more fruits and veggies, even if it means making fresh juices for her to drink.
6) Cough in the right direction. I always cough into my elbow, but it is much harder for my son to remember to do that. So I’ve settled for teaching him to cough downward or away from people.
7) Keep your kids home when sick. It is tempting to send your kids to school when they are sick, but they are only spreading the cough or flu to other kids. Contact the school and arrange home study to keep absences down.