While the term “flu” is commonly (and incorrectly) thrown around as the same thing as a bad cold, the influenza virus is a serious virus that can make people extremely ill and result in dangerous, severe complications. This is particularly true in children, who have weaker immune systems than adults and can suffer serious consequences from the flu. To avoid such dangerous complications from the illness, it’s essential for parents to take informed steps and help prevent their children from contracting the flu. As we continue to face COVID-19 and packed ICUs, the flu is particularly dangerous. Moreover, without proper rest and care, the flu can potentially develop into a lung infection known as pneumonia, which is life-threatening in children. Read on to learn more about the flu, along with some tips on how to keep your child healthy during flu season.
Preventing The Flu
The flu vaccine protects us from strains of the virus that are most likely to hit during the winter. These vaccines are extremely safe and have been developed and used for many years. Almost every flu vaccine is free of thimerosal and mercury, and most children older than 6 months (including pregnant women) can safely get the vaccine. Moreover, pregnant women who receive the influenza vaccine are able to transfer some of the protective antibodies to their baby through birth and breast milk. It is advised that everybody in close contact with the baby should form a “protective cocoon” around the infant by getting the flu vaccine.
Protecting Your Child From The Flu
- Make sure your children wash their hands frequently, all the time: Kids are always touching their faces and mouths, so parents and guardians need to ensure good hand washing habits. Check that your childrens’ hands are washed with water and soap to eliminate germs after using the restroom, before they eat, and when they come inside from playing. When washing is inconvenient, use hand sanitizer.
- Encourage regular exercise: Active children have healthier immune systems. Studies illustrate that regular exercise helps to reduce the chance of cold and flu episodes.
- Be well rested: Children require 9 and 14 hours of sleep per day, depending on age. A lack of sleep can weaken the immune system and make it more likely for them to get sick.
- Eat healthy: Meals with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables have the vitamins and nutrients for healthy immune systems. Avoid foods high in preservatives, additives, and sugars and look for foods rich in vitamin C and vitamin D.
- Avoid stress: Immunity can be lowered by an excess of stress hormones. Give children lots of down time for creative play and rest to lower their stress levels.
- Sharing is good for kids, but also good for germs: Sharing is healthy and great for childhood interaction, but communal items are rife with germs. Teach children to avoid sharing caps, scarves, cups, straws, or anything that they touch with faces and mouths.
Contact Us Today
If your child gets sick, parents should keep them home and prevent germs from spreading to others. If your child’s symptoms get more severe or you’re not sure what to do, you need to take them to the doctor. Sunlife Pediatric Network is a top pediatric service provider in Pembroke Pines and Plantation, FL. Call Sunlife Pediatric Network to schedule an appointment today.