Cold and flu season is here, which means that everyone has a higher likelihood of getting a sniffle, cough or worse. Children can become very sick from these common viruses. Proper precautions and medical care helps to ensure that these viruses do not linger or cause more serious problems for families.
Proper Hand Washing
The most effective way to prevent the spread of viruses during the cold months is hand washing. While some people believe that using antibacterial hand gel is more effective, many experts argue that it is not. Viruses cause colds and influenza, not bacteria. Children can be taught from a very young age how to wash their hands carefully and thoroughly. They should scrub their hands with soap for at least 15-20 seconds, making sure to scrub on top, between fingers and underneath long fingernails. Regularly washing hands before eating, after coming into contact with others who may be sick and after using the restroom is a good practice for children to learn.
Precautions at School and Day Care
Children who attend school or day care can bring home germs that cause colds, flu and other conditions. Parents can help minimize the effects of these diseases by teaching children to cough into their elbows and wash their hands after blowing their noses. Schools and day care centers usually have rules against bringing children who are sick. These diseases spread quickly around children who may share toys, equipment, food and drink. As a general rule, it is better to keep a sick child at home if at all possible, even if the problem is minor.
Doctors recommend that all people get a flu vaccine as soon as they are available in the fall. Infants as young as six months may safely receive the vaccine. The virus changes from year to year, so inoculation each year is important to ensure more effective immunity. Since the vaccine does not prevent the cold and some rarer strains of influenza, experts caution parents to continue to keep a close eye on their children’s health during cold and flu season. If a child has a high fever, is extremely lethargic or has a cold that does not seem to go away, it is best to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Getting the cold or flu is no fun, but it happens often at this time of year. With an eye for prevention and pediatric services in Las Vegas, parents help their children to stay healthy all year round.
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