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Summer fun is out, and Fall Flu Season is in! As Autumn and Winter roll by, many people become sick with the flu. According to the CDC, 8% of the U.S. population gets sick from the flu each season. Statistically speaking, millions of people come down with this uncomfortable illness. Even though it may seem like there is nothing you can do to keep you and your little one flu-free, that’s most certainly not the case. Parents, continue reading to learn what you should know about the flu:
What is the flu?
Influenza, also referred to as the flu, is a highly contagious respiratory illness. The Influenza Virus causes it and, generally, comes on very quickly and unexpectedly. Typically, symptoms will develop between one to four days after exposure and can last from several days to several weeks. Since a virus causes the flu, antibiotics used for bacteria are not helpful when you’ve tested positive for the flu.
Everyone’s body responds differently to the flu, especially for specific age groups. While all or only some of these symptoms may apply to your child, some signs that could indicate they have the flu include:
- Body and muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Pain in the eyes
- Upset stomach (diarrhea, nausea, etc.)
How can I protect my child?
Although we know that the flu is not entirely preventable, there are measures parents can take to protect their children and keep them flu-free as long as possible. You can protect your child by:
- Getting the flu shot: The best way to protect your child from the flu is by assuring they receive their flu shot. We also recommend that parents get their flu shot as well. Children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with certain health conditions are vulnerable to becoming sick with illnesses like the flu. Remember, by protecting yourself, you protect those around you.
- Ensuring they take their medicine: If your child is sick with the flu and has been prescribed antiviral drugs by their pediatrician, be sure they take them all. Receiving necessary medications helps prevent severe complications from the flu virus and aids in getting your child back to their usual, healthy self.
- Being cautious: Taking standard precautions shouldn’t be secluded to just flu season; they should be practiced year-round. Practicing healthy habits also aids in halting the spread of the Influenza Virus. Keep in mind to:
- Refrain from coming in close contact with anyone who may be sick, and stay away from others if you or your child is sick.
- Cover both your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Immediately throw the tissue away after you have used it.
- Germs spread fast. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Wear a mask if you are sick.
- Disinfect surfaces or objects that carry many germs, such as grocery carts.
When can my child get a flu shot?
Children six months of age and older can receive a flu shot as long as their pediatrician approves it. Getting vaccinated in September and October before flu season peaks is ideal; however, it is never too late. Children receive two doses of the vaccine; the second dose is given at least 28 days later. Since it takes two doses with nearly a month between them, we recommend getting started early! Antibodies can take weeks to develop after vaccination, so remaining proactive is vital.
At SuraMed Health Center, we are here to keep your children happy and healthy. If you have concerns regarding your child’s health or want to set up an appointment for a flu shot, please visit our website to contact your nearest office today.