It’s the time of year when millions of families are trading swimsuits for snow boots and getting ready for the colder weather. It’s also the time when cold and flu germs are in full force. Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to warding off those nasty cold and flu viruses.
Your neighborhood Stanford Children’s Health pediatricians at Juvvadi Pediatrics and Peninsula Pediatric Medical Group want all families to stay healthy this fall and holiday season. Here are a few good reminders:
Get the Shot!
Yes, most kids (and grown-ups, too) get squirmy about the needle. But a flu vaccination can help you and your family avoid the flu or can make your illness milder if you do get sick. Remember, the Flumist nasal spray was deemed not as effective so it is not available this year. The flu vaccine is usually available starting in September, and flu season runs from October to March. Getting your kids vaccinated sooner is better, so their bodies can build up immunity to the virus.
Rethink cold medicine
Although it’s tempting to medicate your child when he has a fever or cough, it’s best to talk to your pediatrician to determine if medication is necessary. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages any child under 2 from using over-the-counter cold medication. Also, antibiotics only treat bacterial infections and can have serious side effects if overused. Since most colds and flus are viral, not bacterial, your child may not need medicine. For most colds and flu bugs, the best route is lots of rest and plenty of fluids.
Scrub those hands
It’s so simple and yet hand washing is still one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs and infections. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Get Some Zzzzzs
A body’s immune system works best when kids are getting a good night’s rest. Most school-aged children need at least 10-11 hours each night.
Learn more at stanfordchildrens.org.
Adapted from Parenthood.com