It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s also flu season. While looking for signs of influenza in your family is less fun than looking for a Christmas Tree or for those holiday decorations that you just know you left in the second box to the right in the hall closet last year, here are some signs, symptoms, and advice for this year’s flu season.
Get this year’s flu shot.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control recommends that everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine at the start of flu season every year.
What to look for.
The most common symptoms of the flu are fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, achy body, headache, chills, fatigue, and occasionally vomiting and diarrhea. Some people may have the flu and may not have a fever; if you are concerned, always call Dr. Mike or Dr. Cheryl first.
Other than the flu vaccine, here are some preventative measures you can take to stop the spread of flu in your family.
- Avoid people who are sick, while this seems obvious you might have one sick child and one child who is not at the same time. Try to keep them apart as much as possible to prevent the flu making the rounds of your whole household.
- Wash your hands often! To have a successful handwashing, you need to wash with soap and running warm water for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. If soap and water are not at hand, hand sanitizer is an excellent quick fix. Help your children wash their hands often if they need it.
- Encourage your child/children to use good respiratory habits. Have them avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth if possible, and have them cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow. This will help keep them from getting sick and help prevent spreading the flu to others if they are sick.
- Having a good disinfecting wipe on hand will help keep your home from being a germ ground zero. Wipe commonly touched surfaces like the counters and appliances but, don’t forget to wipe things you may not think of, but that get touched a lot like doorknobs and handles.
What do I do if my child seems like they have the flu?
If your child has the flu or you are worried about their symptoms, here are some things you can do:
- Call our office. Dr. Mike or Dr. Cheryl might want to see your child for an exam and to start medications if necessary.
- Other than for Doctor’s appointments, try to keep your child at home until their fever has been gone for at least 24 hours, and they feel more like themselves. (Dr. Mike or Dr. Cheryl will have more specific advice depending on your child’s diagnosis, always call if you have any questions.)
- Like above, be sure that your child/children are covering their coughs and sneezes.
- Rest and fluids are your child’s new best friends. Make sure that your child gets plenty of rest and is drinking enough water to ensure that they are not getting dehydrated, especially if they are vomiting or have a fever.
- Follow your Pediatrician’s directions with your child’s medication. If you have questions about what you should and shouldn’t give to your children, call your Pediatrician.
- Keep a “sick room” in the house to try and prevent everyone in the house from getting sick.
Flu season is here, but so are we. If you have any questions or concerns, call us at 540-349-3225, and we will get you an appointment or answer any questions you might have. Flu is no fun for you or your child/children, so we are here to help!