There have been 20 deaths of people under the age of 18 since the flu outbreak began in the 2012-2013 season. The number of pediatric deaths associated with influenza rose by two, according to the CDC. The flu came early this season, and cases are more severe than last year, health officials say. The type of flu that is going around is called H3N2, which is often linked to more serious disease, compared with some other flu varieties.
The common flu rarely kills the young and healthy, but the Schwolert family from Texas lost their 17-year-old son Max over this holiday to the flu.
To help prevent your child from having to seek care for influenza , cold or other similar illnesses, here are some tips:
1. Make sure your child gets this season’s flu vaccine.
Flu vaccine is 62% effective. If an immunized person still gets the flu their symptoms are usually less severe, and it can prevent complications.
If your child is allergic to flu vaccine or your prefer not to use vaccinations there are naturopathic methods for preventing and treating the flu. Adequate levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin D3 and Zinc are helpful in supporting the immune system to prevent illness.
2. Practice good cough etiquette and social distancing.
Flu germs can spread up to 6 feet through coughs and sneezes. Teach your children to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue and to throw away the tissue. If they do not have tissue available teach them to cover their mouth with their arm or hand, or piece of clothing. Make sure to clean their hands afterward! Wash their clothes.
Keep your child home when they are sick – do not take them into public. Cancel play dates, keep them home from school, church and other public venues. When your child is sick keep them quarantined to their own room to prevent sharing germs with family members.
3. Keep hands and shared objects/surfaces clean.
Good hand washing prevents the spread of disease. Teach your children to wash their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds or the same amount of time it takes to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Disinfect shared objects such as toys and clean surfaces with disinfectant spray or wipes. Wash bed linens and blankets to prevent re-infections.
Keep hand sanitizer near and use it.
4. Stay Healthy with good nutrition, plenty of fluids, moderate exercise and adequate rest help optimize the immune system.
5. For kids with flu, treat the symptoms and keep them comfortable.
Children over one year old can use honey for a cough suppressant without the side-effects of medications. Observe your child closely. If red flags occur have them seen by a physician immediately. Red flags include:
- Difficulty Breathing
- Getting Better – Then Sick Again
- Refusing to Drink
- Extreme Lethargy