Influenza (flu) is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by the influenza virus.
Influenza can cause mild or severe illness, pneumonia, and other complications. Children under five years of age and adolescents who have a chronic disease are at risk of severe complications caused by influenza. These complications can lead to hospitalization.
Children are especially vulnerable when being exposed to the cold weather and are more prone to diseases, especially if they’re in contact with other children in daycare centers. Their immune system is not matured enough, and they do not have the same defensive capacity as adults. Many parents wonder what they can do to prevent their children from getting common winter diseases. To help prevent your child from catching the flu or similar illnesses, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Make sure your child gets the flu vaccine this season
It's not too late for your children to get the vaccine. Although it cannot completely prevent your child from contracting the flu (usually it is 70% effective), it can reduce the illness if it is contagious and make the symptoms milder.
Keep their hands and the objects they touch clean
This is the most critical time of the year to wash their hands often with running water and soap. It’s important that you teach your children to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. Flu viruses can live up to eight hours on surfaces, so try to remove them from toys, handles, counters, tables, telephones, TV remotes, and others using a cleaning product that eliminates & kills bacteria.
In addition to asking your child to wash their hands often, remind them not to rub their eyes or their nose. You can start by teaching them to use disposable tissues to wipe a tearful eye or rub their nose when it is itchy. Teach them also to use disposable tissues when sneezing or coughing.
Take care of their diet
The usual practices of good health still apply during the cold and flu season; Good nutrition, moderate exercise, andadequate rest help optimize the immune system. Offer your child a well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, milk, andwater. Furthermore, also make sure they get enough sleep (at least 10 hours for school-age children and 12 hours for babies). You can also encourage them to be part of any physical activity most days of the week at least for an hour.
Moisturize their skin well
Sudden changes in temperature, dehydrate the skin and make it much more fragile and sensitive. The cold, the wind and the sun can injure the skin of your children, especially babies. The dryness of the environment can cause irritations and slits on their skin. Therefore it is essential to keep your children well hydrated with creams, especially if your child's skin is dehydrated.
Avoid close contact
Ensure they avoid close contact with friends who are sick. If one of them has flu,they could make your baby ill. Being around sickpeople during cold and flu season can increase your child's risk of developing other dangerous complications that could require a hospital stay.
At the End of The Day ...
...always observe your child for signs and symptoms of respiratory illness. You don't have to stay at home hiding from the world during the cold and flu season. What you do need to do is to take precautions to help your child stay cold and flu-free. Yes, they’ll get colds once in a while, but you can significantly decrease their chances if you follow these helpful tips.