Stopping the Flu Before it Starts: Understanding How the Flu Spreads Among Children

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Winter is winding down but cold and flu season is still in full effect. Keeping your family healthy can be a challenge. It helps to understand how the flu spreads- especially how it spreads among kids. Understanding how the flu is transmitted can help you take steps to prevent your family from getting sick in the first place.

The Flu: It’s In the Air

Influenza, more commonly called “the flu” is an airborne disease that causes fever, sore throats, chills, and coughing in children and adults. The flu is not the same as a stomach bug.

Because the flu is spread through the air and on surfaces, it is very easy for children, who tend to spend lots of time in school with dozens of other children, to catch and spread the disease. In a school, daycare, or similar facility, children and teachers are all breathing the same air, and touching the same pens, paper, and other surfaces. This is how diseases like the flu survive and how your little ones come home with a temperature of 102 degrees that they soon spread to their siblings and parents.

An Ounce of Cure

The best way to deal with the flu is to prevent it before it starts. In children and adults, this means vaccination. Make sure your kids get a flu vaccine each year before cold and flu season kicks off. Children can receive the flu vaccine as young as 6 months old. This is the single best way to prevent your family from getting sick. There are also little steps you can take: make sure your little ones wash their hands throughout the day. Avoid sharing cups, utensils, and food during cold and flu season. Stay away from other children who are sick when possible. Teach the importance of wiping down and disinfecting surfaces that sick children have touched. Give them healthy lunches to eat each day. Prevention goes a long towards keeping kids germ free.

If anyone in your family does get sick, make sure they get lots of fluids and plenty of rest. Try to keep them away from other people as much as possible, especially in the first 48 hours. Call your doctor if the flu persists or if anything about the flu seems to go beyond the symptoms described above.

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