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With my oldest daughter in Kindergarten this year + my middle daughter still in pre-school, it seems like they bring home ALL. THE. GERMS.
We try washing hands. We use oils. We get the flu shot.
Sometimes, it feels as if none of this works. In our school system there’s been an increased number of students with influenza-like illness that attend my daughter’s school.
Health Department Recommendations for the Flu
The Health Department recommends that you + your family members take the following steps to protect yourselves + others from influenza + other respiratory illnesses:
They recommend vaccinating your child + yourself against influenza this year + every year.
I know this a controversial topic for some. I believe in the flu vaccination. I vaccinate myself. I vaccinate my children + my husband, who is an Army Officer, also gets the vaccination every year.
I know it doesn’t protect us against every strain of the flu but so far it has kept all of us from coming down with the flu for the past 6 years.
Wash your hands often with soap and water
Nothing fights germs, even flu germs, like good old-fashioned soap + water. It is especially important to wash hands after coughing or sneezing.
Teach your children to wash their hands frequently with soap + water for 20 seconds. We sing the Happy Birthday song twice 🙂 Be sure to set a good example by doing this yourself.
If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective in the war against germs.
Cover coughs + sneezes with a tissue
After coughing + sneezing into a tissue, throw it in the trash right away. If tissues are not available, cover coughs + sneezes with the upper sleeve of your shirt.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose + mouth
Germy hands that touch eyes, noses + mouths (openings into our bodies) is how germs are spread. My husband is forever reminding our girls to keep their hands away from mouths, noses + eyes.
Try to avoid close contact with individuals who have flu symptoms
If you know someone has the flu, stay away from them! I know this is easier said than done sometimes.
Plus, there are those people that like to show up at work or school hacking all over the place + you cannot control that.
Monitor your child for signs of illness
Flu symptoms are different than cold systems. The flu usually hits like a ton of bricks–all of a sudden.
Flu symptoms to watch for:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny nose or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea (more common in children than adults)
Keep your sick kiddos home
If your child has flu-like symptoms or is sent home from school with flu-like symptoms, keep your child home + away from others until the child has been symptom free + without fever for at least 24 hours (i.e. he or she should not attend school, school functions, sporting or extracurricular activities, or leave the home except to seek medical attention).
I know this is slightly unrealistic if you have other children at home but try sequestering them to a bedroom + sanitize the crap out of the rest of your house + their quarantine area once they are feeling better.