You forgot or chose not to get your kids the flu shot, and now you hear about all the flu going around schools and the community. You did get your flu shot, but now are hearing that it is not preventing all flu. You are also hearing about children dying from the flu. What do you do?
First, know the facts.
Influenza is a virus that causes children and adults to feel really bad for several days to two weeks. Most people will recover fully, but in some people, it can overwhelm the immune system and result in complications. Children younger than 5 years and especially those younger than 2 years are at highest risk of developing influenza complications, including sinus infections, ear infections, pneumonia, among others. Whether or not your child received the flu vaccine or not, be aware of your child developing complications.
Second, remain calm.
Fear and anxiety reduces your immune system’s ability to effectively fight the flu. Your child feels your fear and anxiety. Take 5 minutes regularly to do something calming. Teach your child to calm themselves.
Third, remember fever helps your child fight the flu.
Fever is scary for many parents, but it is the body’s way of activating the immune system to help your child kill the flu. Healthy children will not have a fever that will cause damage. Only temperatures above 108° F (42° C) can cause brain damage. It’s very rare for the body temperature to climb this high. It only happens if the air temperature is very high. Use fever medicine only when your child is very uncomfortable. We prefer ibuprofen containing fever medicine over acetaminophen. Other ways to reduce your child’s temperature:
- Avoid heavy clothing and blankets. Dress your child in light layer of clothing. We don’t want your child to be chilled, so if shivering occurs cover with sheet instead of comforter.
- Place cool cloth on face, armpits, ankles. Cover your child with light blanket.
- Give your child cool fluids.
- Take warm breath.
Fourth, you can still protect yourself.
Read our blog about protecting your family in cold and flu season. You can still get a flu shot. It takes about 2 weeks for the immune system to build immunity after the vaccine. The current vaccine will protect against some strains. The most prevalent strain of flu that is currently circulating is not included in this year’s flu vaccine.
Reduce the spread of the flu by:
- Keep your child home if he has fever, or other flu symptoms
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Extreme tiredness
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle Aches
- Wash your hands with soap and water (hand sanitizer if soap & water not available) after being in public areas, touching doorknobs, public phones. Also, after coughing, sneezing, touching face, using the bathroom.
- Teach your child to cover her cough and sneeze, with elbow instead of hand if possible. Droplets containing the flu virus from a cough or sneeze can travel up to 6 feet.
- Avoid crowds and shaking hands during outbreaks.
- Teach your child to avoid touching his face, especially when in public areas.
- Get supplies you will need for your children if they become ill:
- Fluids – broth, water,
- Tissue, paper towels
- Safe cleaners that have disinfection qualities
- Clean surfaces around ill people to reduce spread of illness. Focus on door knobs, phones, faucets and food preparation areas.