By Dr. Tamisha Jones, Director of Pediatric Services
Cold and flu season is upon us. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are things you can do to prevent your kids from catching or spreading the viruses. Here are my top five recommendations.
1. Make sure your children wash their hands thoroughly. Have them sing their ABC’s or the Happy Birthday Song while washing, to make sure that they scrub long enough. Hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes have become popular, but use good, old-fashioned soap and water if there is visible dirt on his or her hands.
2. Have your children cover their mouth when they cough, but not with their hands. When coughing and sneezing, it’s best to use a tissue, or, if you must, an elbow. When kids cough into their bare hands, they can easily spread germs to door knobs, toys and anything they touch.
3. Teach your children to not share drinks or food. Germs are easily spread through cups, utensils and bites of food. So teach your children not to eat from their classmates’ plate.
4. Stay home. If your children are sick, it’s best to keep them home to avoid spreading the illness to others. And they need the rest to recuperate.
5. Get the yearly flu shot for your child. It’s the best thing we have to keep you from catching the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that flu vaccinations prevented approximately 5.1 million influenza illnesses, 2.5 million influenza-associated medical visits and 71,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations in 2016.