You tend to see them at this time of year – mothers sporting backbacks equipped with disinfectant sprays, highchair liners, and a gallon of hand sanitizer. Paranoid? Just plain silly? Not to those of us who have survived a flu infestation during the holidays!
The influenza virus spreads like wildfire and knowing how to prevent yourself and others from catching this ‘Bah-humbug” virus can hopefully help you build happy holiday memories this year. To keep the flu out of your home, follow these tips:
1. Get Vaccinated: Although there is a chance you or your child could still become infected, the severity and duration of symptoms will be less severe after receiving a vaccine.
2. Follow Good Health Habits:
—Wash hands thoroughly and frequently: Scrub for 15 seconds with warm soap and water, or apply a rinse-free hand sanitizer. Always keep some hand sanitizer on hand, especially when venturing to children’s play areas in fast food restaurants. These fun zones often harbor tons of hidden germs just waiting to pop into the mouths of babes.
*Caution: Keep instant sanitizers out of children’s reach and only use on the hands. It can burn the skin when applied to sensitive areas such as the face.
—Cover up: Try to remind your children to cough and sneeze inside a tissue.
—Stay home: Get some movies, chicken soup, ginger ale, and turn into human couch potatoes together.
—Avoid infected individuals: No play dates with feverish kids and no kisses from sick grandmothers, please!
—Remember to avoid touching the mouth, nose, and eyes: I know this is next to impossible for kids to do, which is why it’s so important to make sure their tiny hands stay clean.
3. Ask About Drug Treatments: There is no magic pill to get rid of the flu but if someone in your home becomes infected, there are drug regimens that, when started early enough, can lessen the duration and severity of flu symptoms. Consult your child’s doctor about possible options.
DR. TARA KOMPARE is a doctor of pharmacy and mother of two. You can visit her website at www.themedicinemom.com or email her directly at [email protected].