Children tend to be at a higher risk of catching the flu, with average infection rates 20% to 30% higher than adults. The influenza virus is serious, which means that parents should take preventive steps to keep their children safe. Learn more about the best flu season tips for parents.
Get Your Child Vaccinated
Flu shots are excellent at helping to prevent disease. Everyone older than six months should get a flu shot each year. These shots protect against the four main types of influenza viruses that researchers expect will spread in the upcoming months.
Most flu shots are done with a needle in the arm, but there are also nasal spray flu vaccines. It’s also never too late to give your child a flu shot, even if flu season has already started.
Prioritize Hand Hygiene
Another of the best flu season tips for parents is to let children know how important it is to wash their hands. Hand hygiene is vital for preventing the flu and many other infectious diseases.
Encourage your children to wash their hands often throughout the day with both soap and water. You can also show them how to use hand sanitizer when they can’t find a sink nearby.
Keep Your Child Away From Sick People
Keep your child away from anyone sick with the flu until the sick person is better. If your child gets the flu, keep them out of school and away from playgrounds or anywhere else they can come into contact with others.
It can be a good idea to avoid contact with babies and the elderly if your child has the flu since you may unwittingly spread the disease to these vulnerable populations.
If you have a baby who has not yet been able to get the flu vaccine, another of the most important flu season tips for parents is to keep them away from crowded areas as much as possible.
Boost Your Child’s Immune System
One of the best flu season tips for parents also promotes your child’s overall well-being: Boost your child’s immune system so that they can better fight off any illnesses they come across. Getting enough sleep is important for the immune system, with children needing between 8 and 10 hours a night.
Also, encourage your child to stay active. This doesn’t mean they have to play a sport or go to the gym. Staying active can mean going for a walk with your child or taking them to the playground.
What children eat also makes a difference. They need to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, proteins, and whole grains. Children also need dairy products and healthy fats.
Try to minimize your child’s intake of processed foods and foods with saturated fats. This doesn’t mean they can’t have these foods at all, but they should not make up the largest part of their diet.
Managing stress is another vital way to help boost your child’s immune system. Stress can make children more prone to catching infections, so make sure they have time to relax throughout the day and do things they find fun.
Some children benefit from performing breathing exercises when they feel stressed. Find the option that is most age-appropriate to help your child unwind.
Teach Them Respiratory Etiquette
Teach your child to cough or sneeze into their elbow so their hands don’t come into contact with germs. If they use a tissue, show them how to wash their hands after they throw it away.
Another great tip is to show your child how to maintain a safe distance from people who are ill. This alone can protect them significantly against the flu.
Keeping Your Child Safe Through Flu Season
By following these flu season tips for parents, you could help prevent your child from catching the virus.
It’s important to get your family vaccinated every year because the flu viruses change, and it’s also vital to show your children how to wash their hands and follow respiratory etiquette. At Newport Children’s Medical Group, we offer support for navigating the flu season. Contact us for more tips to help keep your children safe and healthy.