Fight the Flu

Follow these easy steps to help prevent you and your family from getting sick with the flu:

  • Wash your hands often. Remember that one of the most common ways people catch colds and the flu is by rubbing their nose or their eyes after their hands have been contaminated with a virus. By washing your hands often, especially:
    • before, during, and after you prepare food
    • before you eat, and after you use the bathroom
    • after handling animals or animal waste
    • when your hands are dirty, and
    • more frequently when someone in your home is sick,

    you may avoid getting sick yourself and keep your kids from getting sicktoo.

  • Routinely clean, with soap and water, and disinfect surfaces, toys, and objects that younger children may put in their mouths. It may also help to wipe surfaces with paper towels that can be thrown away or cloth towels that can be washed afterwards.
  • Use disposable tissues to wipe or blow your child’s nose.
  • Teach your children ‘cough etiquette’, which the American Academy of Pediatrics describes as teaching children to turn their headsand cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue or the inside of their elbow if they don’t have a tissue, instead of simply coughing or sneezing onto their hands, which will then spread their germs onto everything they touch.
  • Avoid close contact with people when you are sick. It isn’t really possible to completely avoid people who are sick, so it is likelybetter if you just avoid exposing other people to your germs when you or your kids are sick. So don’t go to school, daycare, work, etc., if you are sick with the flu.
  • Avoid unnecessary contact with a lot of people for your youngerchildren. It isn’t easy to always tell when people are sick and some people are contagious even before they start to have symptoms, so don’t expose your younger kids to large crowds of people if you don’t have to.
  • Have your child take a reusable water bottle to school, like a Sigg or CamelBak, instead of using the school water fountain, which may become contaminated with germs, especially during cold and flu season.

-Dr. Vincent Iannelli, M.D., About.com Guide

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Washington FAMILY Staff

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