Help Kids Avoid the Flu
outbreaks continue to be reported by health officials across the
country. Kids are one of the age groups that are affected the most and
can get very sick from the flu but there are steps parents can teach
their kids to help them stay healthy and avoid getting sick.
#1 WASHING HANDS
Kids have a way of picking up colds and other illnesses. Good hand washing can help kids avoid getting sick.
Kids should wash their hands before eating, after using the bathroom,
when hands are visibly soiled, and after sneezing or coughing. Wash
hands with soap and warm water. When using soap and water:
Wash for at least 20 seconds, covering the entire hand including
fingernails and under jewelry. Younger children can be taught to sing a
short song like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," or the "ABC" song, which will
ensure they wash for at least 20 seconds.
• Rinse and dry thoroughly with a disposable towel.
• Use the towel to turn off the faucet.
Hand Sanitizers may be used if soap and water are not available or if hands are not visibly soiled. Hand sanitizers should contain 60% alcohol to be effective. If using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
• Rub thoroughly over the entire hand, including nail areas and between the fingers.
• Continue to rub until the product dries.
# 2 COVER SNEEZES AND COUGHS
a child has to cough or sneeze, parents should teach them to cover
their mouth and nose with a tissue and wash their hands afterwards. If
they don’t have a tissue, they should be taught to cough or sneeze into
their elbow or upper arm, not their hands. Kids should also be taught to
avoid sharing such things as utensils, cups and bottles, and to keep
their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth.
# 3 GET THE FLU SHOT
most important thing parents can do is get children six months of age
or older a flu vaccine as recommended by the Centers for Disease
Control. Children’s caregivers should also get vaccinated. Other steps
parents can take include:
Keep surfaces like bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen
counters and toys for children clean by wiping them down with a
• If someone in the household is sick, try to keep the sick person in a separate room from others in the household, if possible.
IF THE CHILD BECOMES ILL
a child gets sick, parents should consult their doctor. They should
also make sure their child gets plenty of rest and fluids. If the child
is breathing fast or having trouble breathing, has bluish or gray skin
color, refuses to drink, is vomiting, is irritable or has trouble
staying awake, parents should get the child medical help right away. The
child should stay home from school until at least 24 hours after their
fever is gone.