Have you heard about germy hands? Well, germs causing flu, cold and cough can gain easy entry into your body through the hands. The germs that get on your hands can also invade your body when you touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Flu or influenza is a very contagious respiratory disease that infects areas such as the nose, throat, and lungs. The symptoms of flu may vary, it can be mild or severe. In some flu cases, the illness can even lead to the death of the infected person. Therefore, the most perfect solution is to get yourself and your kids vaccinated every year with the flu shot.
Flu Kids Health
Symptoms of Flu
Influenza can start with a sudden fever along with any two of the below-mentioned illnesses:
- Body ache
- Cough and sore throat
- Cold and runny nose
- Lack of energy
- Vomiting and/or loose motions
If your child is suffering from flu-like symptoms, you should take him to a pediatrician immediately. The doctor may do certain tests to confirm whether the child is infected with the flu virus.
Generally, doctors do not prescribe antibiotics for flu unless there is a bacterial infection. Children with underlying chronic medical disorders such as asthma, heart disease, neurological conditions, liver or kidney problems, and diabetes require special care when they contract flu, as it can quickly turn into a life-threatening condition.
Antiviral oral medications such as Tamiflu can be administered to children with weak immune systems or having chronic medical conditions. Kids who exhibit severe symptoms can also be given Tamiflu. Such medicines are not suggested by doctors to healthy kids who have developed flu symptoms.
Cold and Flu Season Tips for Parents
Influenza or flu is contagious. It spreads through the air and personal contact. For example, you can get the flu by being near an infected person who is coughing or sneezing. You can also risk infection by touching the same objects that the infected person has touched, as those objects will contain his/her mucus or saliva.
Parents should maintain good hygienic habits to reduce the chance of children getting the flu and passing it to many others.
Good clean habits include:
- Regular and thorough washing of the hands
- Not sharing tea cups or cutlery without rinsing it well
- Advising kids to use tissues or use their elbows while sneezing or coughing
- Make them use tissues instead of carrying hankies
- Keep infected kids at home away from school until they are fully recovered
- Take yearly flu-shot and get your family to do the same
- Influenza vaccine can be given to all kids above the age of 6 months
A breastfeeding mom with flu can breastfeed the baby even after taking antiviral medications. The breast milk is sufficient to provide necessary antibodies for the baby to fight the flu infection.
Teaching Kids about Influenza
You can explain to their little minds that germs cannot be seen and they cause cold, cough and flu. They get in our bodies through our mouth and nose. The bad germs stick to our hands and that is why we should keep our hands clean.
This will make them wash their hands. You can buy an animal-shaped soap to get kids to wash their hands. You can also encourage them to use sanitizers at schools or while traveling. Keep tissues available at all places so that kids learn to use them instead of wiping their nose or mouth in the cushions or a stuffed toy. Make them understand that sharing does not always mean caring. To stop flu incidences at school, children have to be discouraged from sharing things like cups, straws, forks, spoons and sticky food with their friends.
How to keep your kids healthy during the flu season?
Teach kids to wash their hands at regular intervals both at school and home. Similarly, give them well-balanced nutritious meals and see that they get good sleep. Kids should be encouraged to play outdoors and be active to remain healthy.
Should I keep my toddler home during the flu season?
You should keep your toddler who has contracted the flu virus until they are free of fever and are feeling better for 24 hours at a stretch. The child could be contagious for a period of one week.
If my child has the flu, how can I prevent others from getting it?
To prevent the spread of the flu virus, you need to keep the child away from others, possibly in a separate bedroom. You have to keep him/her clean, give mild medications as advised by the doctor, keep the surroundings clean by spraying, wiping and washing the place frequently.
Why is my child always sick with a cold?
There may be many reasons for your child to be frequently sick with a cold. Children under the age of 7 years do not have fully developed immune systems, which makes them vulnerable to the cold and flu viruses. Young kids do not always cover their mouth or nose while coughing and sneezing, and thus they constantly keep spreading the germs to other children.
How long are children contagious with the flu?
Children could remain unwell with the flu virus for about a week. The affected kids are contagious from day one, even before the symptoms appear.