6 Things You Should Know About the Flu
This comes to us from our friends at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
As a parent, you always do everything you can to keep your family safe. With flu season starting early this year, have you taken the steps to protect yourself and your family from flu? Most of the country is now seeing high levels of flu activity, and this may continue for some time. Unfortunately, there is nothing that provides 100% protection against flu. However, flu vaccine is the single best way to protect against seasonal flu and is especially important for children younger than 5 and children of any age with other health complications such as asthma, neurological disease or immune deficiencies. Here are six important things parents should know:
1. A flu vaccine is the best way to prevent flu. If anyone in your family hasn’t gotten a flu vaccine yet, go get vaccinated now! With very few exceptions, everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated each year, and it’s especially important for people at high risk to get vaccinated. If your child has a high risk condition or an egg allergy, ask your doctor which vaccine is best. Also, flu vaccine may be a little harder to find now than it was in the fall, so you may need to contact more than one provider (pharmacy, health department, or doctor) to find available vaccine. The flu vaccine locator may be helpful to you in your search.
2. Flu vaccines cannot give you the flu. Flu vaccines cannot give you the flu because they are made from killed or weakened influenza viruses. Unfortunately, there are a couple reasons why it’s still possible to get the flu even if you were vaccinated. First, people may be exposed to a flu virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the period (roughly two weeks) it takes the body to build its immune response after vaccination. Second, there’s a possibility of catching a flu virus not included in the vaccine. And last, some people can get sick with a flu virus that’s in the vaccine even if they got vaccinated, partly due to health and age factors.
3. Stay away from sick people. Flu spreads mainly in the droplets of sick people who are coughing and sneezing, so have your family stay away from people who are sick as much as possible, and, if you are sick, stay away from people who are well. Both kids and parents should stay home during illness and for at least 24 hours after fever is gone unless medical care is needed. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
4. Ask your doctor about antiviral drugs. If your family does get sick with the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat the illness. Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. If you or someone in your family has a high risk condition, antiviral drugs are especially important, and treatment should be started as soon as possible. A doctor will decide whether antiviral drugs are needed (you will need a prescription to get them), but you need to take the first step by asking the doctor about your illness.
5. “Everyday healthy habits” are still important. Make sure everyone in your family knows to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. And remember to wash hands with soap and water often. These last tips are good ones to live by during and outside of flu season and can help protect against the spread of other viruses too. Let’s all do our part to prevent the flu!
6. Know when to seek medical attention. Parents should seek medical attention if their child is not drinking enough fluids, if there is persistent or severe vomiting, if flu-like symptoms linger or improves and returns, if there is difficulty breathing, or other health conditions that are accompanied by flu symptoms, including a fever and/or cough. For infants, parents should watch for signs of inability to eat, trouble breathing, no tears when crying, and significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.Add a Comment