How to Keep Your Child Healthy This Flu Season

December 30, 2020

caring mother measures the temperature of a sick little girl; blog: How to Keep Your Child Healthy This Flu Season

Flu season is here, and with the Covid-19 pandemic, preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses like the flu is even more important this year. Everyone is susceptible to influenza (flu) due to its highly contagious nature, but children are particularly susceptible to the spread of the illness. Children under the age of five are at higher risk of developing flu-related complications, especially children under the age of two. 

Keep your child healthy this flu season and learn what symptoms to look for as well as how to prevent the contraction and spread of the flu.

Flu Symptoms & Complications

Some may mistake the flu for the common cold due to similar symptoms like runny nose, sore throat, and sneezing. However, the flu tends to come on suddenly while colds take more time to develop. People also tend to feel much worse with the flu, with symptoms including:

  • Fever
  • Muscle and body aches
  • Chills and sweats
  • Persistent cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

The typical treatment for the flu is rest and plenty of fluids. However, if flu-related complications arise, further treatment may be necessary. Children are more prone to complications from the flu, with those under 6 months old at the highest risk. In rare cases, the flu can lead to death. 

Complications from the flu may include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Dehydration
  • Worsening of long-term medical problems like heart disease or asthma
  • Brain dysfunction
  • Sinus problems
  • Ear infections

How to Keep Your Child Healthy This Flu Season

Even if your child is healthy with no pre-existing medical conditions, it’s still important to do everything you can to protect them from the flu. Here are a few best practices for keeping your child healthy this flu season.

Get The Flu Vaccine

Though not 100% effective, the flu vaccine is the best way to protect against getting the flu. Everyone over the age of 6 months should receive a flu vaccine each year, and don’t wait until flu season is already in full swing. Because the flu vaccine is not approved for children under 6 months old, it’s especially important for parents, caregivers, and those around young infants or newborns to get vaccinated. 

Wash Hands Often

Handwashing is one of the simplest, most effective ways to stay healthy during flu season and throughout the year. Washing your hands with soap and clean, running water prevents illnesses like the flu and the spread of infections to others. Teach your child the proper way to wash their hands, and make it a habit by encouraging them to wash their hands throughout the day.

Practice Healthy Habits Year-Round

Protecting your child from contracting the flu is not limited to flu season. Maintaining healthy habits year-round is important to boosting your child’s immune system and overall health. These habits include getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet that avoids foods high in additives, preservatives, and sugars, and getting plenty of exercise.

Unfortunately, even with the best of precautions, the flu still happens. If your child contracts the flu, the best thing you can do is to help make them as comfortable as possible. In addition to making sure your child gets plenty of rest and fluids, here’s what you can do to care for your child’s flu.

Prevent the Spread of the Flu

If your child or someone else in your household has the flu, there are steps you can take to prevent it from spreading and keep the rest of your family healthy. Firstly, keep your child or infected family member distanced from the rest of the family and have them use a separate bedroom and bathroom if possible. The flu mainly spreads through droplets produced when people with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby, so distancing can help prevent the spread of droplets.  

Other steps you can take to prevent the spread of the flu include regular hand washing, coughing or sneezing into a tissue, disinfecting regularly touched surfaces, and more

Contact Holly Springs Pediatrics

If you believe your child has the flu or have questions about symptoms, complications, or the flu vaccine, contact your child’s pediatrician. Holly Springs Pediatrics is committed to providing quality care to your kids at all times. That includes being there in uncertain times. We will always prioritize the health and safety of your family. Call our Holly Springs, NC pediatric office at (919) 249-4700 to schedule an appointment or talk to a staff member.