5 Tips to Keep the Flu Away
Fall is officially here! With the start of the new season comes homecoming, fall festivals and cooler weather (yay!). Unfortunately, fall also bring the start of flu season.
According to the CDC, Flu season stretches from October into May, with a peak period in December - February. So, with flu season looming in the not-too-distant future, there are some precautions we can take to keep this unwanted infection at bay.
1. Wash your hands! Wash your hands!
While we all know this tip, it really is the first line of defense against germs. And children, as they are naturally curious, touching anything they see, it’s good to remind them how important handwashing is.
Experts suggest washing hands with soap & water for at least 20 seconds (or about the amount of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday or the ABC’s) to get the full benefits of hand washing.
2. Keep it to yourself!
We spend a lot of energy teaching our kids how to share, but reminding kids when not to share is vital to keeping germs from spreading. Remind them not to share drinks, food or utensils.
3. Don’t touch that!
The flu virus can live for several hours outside the body, depending on the surface. Just on a person’s hand, the virus can live for up to an hour! (Yuck!)
The flu virus is typically spread when someone touches a contaminated surface, then touches their own mouth, nose or eyes. Teach your children not to touch their face (we know, this one is easier said than done) in conjunction with their stellar hand washing skills.
4. Don’t spray it!
Remind your children, if they don’t have a tissue, to cough/sneeze into the crook of their elbow or into their upper shirt sleeve and not into their hand. Doing so will keep germs from contaminating surfaces and off their hands which can cause germs to spread.
5. Keep your distance!
Limiting contact with those who are ill can assist in keeping the virus from spreading. In your home, setting up a sick zone for the ill person can limit exposure to other family members. Also, Healthline suggests avoiding sharing towels, wash clothes, dishes, and toys. WebMD even went as far as to suggest giving the ill person their own restroom, if you have multiple bathrooms in your home.
Along with preventative measures like good hygiene and limited exposure the CDC maintains that the flu vaccination is the best way in preventing the flu, suggesting that the vaccine could prevent the flu risks up to 60%. They suggest for the best protection to get vaccinated before the end of October.
While taking all these precautions can help prevent catching the flu, there are no absolute guarantees. If your child(ren) do get sick be sure to keep them home until they are symptom-free for 24 hours to minimize the spread.
If your child is sick, you can review the call-in policy here.
1. 7 Ways to Flu-Proof Your Home. Healthline, http://www.healthline.com/health/flu-proof-home#keep-your-distance6. Accessed 18 Sept 2017. 2. Frequently Asked Flu Questions 2017-2018 Influenza Season. CDC, 14 Sept., 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm. Accessed 18 Sept 2017. 3. Hand washing: Clean Hands Save Lives. CDC, 7 March 2016,. https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html. Accessed 18 Sept 2017. 4. Lewis, Sharisa. How Long Can the Flu Virus Live on a Surface?., Livestrong, 14 Aug. 2017, http://www.livestrong.com/article/16108-long-can-flu-virus-live/. Accessed 18 Sept 2017. 5. Redfearn, Suz. “Cold and Flu Season: Limit the Spread of Germs”. WedMD, 5 June 2016, http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/stop-spread-cold-flu1#2. Accessed 18 Sept 2017