How To Keep Your Kids Flu-Free This Season

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Everyone enjoys the cooling temps, fall foliage and approaching holidays; however, the ensuing flu season is not nearly as welcome. Kids who are in school or daycare are at a much higher risk of catching the flu than those that stay at home. To ensure your child stays healthy this flu season, there are some tips you can keep in mind.

GET YOUR CHILD VACCINATED

Although the vaccine is not 100% successful in preventing the flu (according to the latest numbers, it is actually 62% effective), it can certainly reduce your child’s chance of getting sick. Even if your child does end up with the flu, the vaccine can help shorten the illness and keep symptoms mild.

TEACH THEM GOOD ETIQUETTE

Because the flu can spread as much as 6 feet when a child coughs or sneezes, it’s important that your child covers their mouth and nose with a tissue. Make sure your child knows to throw the tissue away afterward and to then wash their hands.

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KEEP EVERYTHING CLEAN

This probably sounds impossible with a child, but it’s smart to wipe down toys, handles, counter tables, phones and TV remotes regularly. The flu virus can live up to 8 hours on surfaces, so keeping everything in your home as clean as possible will prevent it from spreading. Hot soapy water or a cleaning product works best.

DIET, EXERCISE AND REST

One of the best ways your child can stay flu-free this season is to eat right, exercise daily and get enough rest each night. For school-age children, adequate rest is at least 10 hours, while toddlers need a minimum of 12 hours each night. Your children’s diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetable, milk and water. Also, it’s important your child gets at least an hour of physical activity each day.

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If your child has not had his or her flu shot, consider visiting Medical City Children’s Urgent Care. We have pediatricians that are board certified, offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it and are even open after hours or on the weekend.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.

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Is The Flu Shot Right For Your Child?

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Many people are skeptical about getting the flu shot themselves, let alone taking their child to get one. While there is a remote chance of your child having a negative reaction to the flu shot, the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to the vaccine. In order to know whether or not the flu shot is right for your child, it’s important to know why the shot is recommended in the first place.

Why Your Child Should Get Vaccinated

The flu is a highly contagious disease that peaks between October and May each year. Typically, the flu is spread by coughing, sneezing and close contact. Symptoms of the flu include fever, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and runny nose. If your child gets the flu shot, it can:

  • Prevent your child from getting the flu
  • Lessen the severity of the flu if your child gets it
  • Keep your child from spreading the flu to others if he or she gets it

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Who Should Not Get The Vaccine?

While the flu shot is beneficial to most people, there are some people who should not get this vaccine. If your child has a severe, life-threatening allergy, he or she should not get vaccinated. Also, if your child is not feeling well, the shot should be delayed temporarily. While this affects very few people, those who have suffered Guillain-Barré Syndrome before should avoid the vaccine all together.

What Are Potential Reactions Of The Vaccine?

While most people will not experience any complications from the shot, some people may have:

  • soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • hoarseness
  • sore, red or itchy eyes
  • cough
  • fever
  • aches
  • headache
  • itching
  • fatigue

Typically these problems only last a day or two after the shot is given. Severe complications, even more rare, include a small increased risk of GBS or seizure (for those who also get pneumococcal vaccine and/or DTaP vaccine).

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If your child has not has his or her flu shot, consider visiting Medical City Children’s Urgent Care. We have kid-friendly physicians that are board-eligible in family medicine or emergency medicine, offer convenient access to the expert care you need right when you need it and are even open after hours or on the weekend.

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.