Protect Your Children from the Flu
When there is a particularly virulent strain of the flu circulating,
as many as 70,000 Americans could die from flu or flu-related
complications. As a parent or caregiver, there are some simple things
you can do to help prevent your children from contracting the flu.
A flu shot is a good start. It can help protect children against the
illness, which is especially dangerous to those who already have
weakened immune systems. Babies between 6 and 23 months old are among
those at a higher risk for flu complications. Those who have diabetes,
immunosuppression disorders, severe forms of anemia and chronic diseases
of the heart, kidneys or lungs – such as asthma – are at a higher risk,
People in close contact with high-risk groups and children and
teenagers taking aspirin for long periods also are urged to get the
vaccine. However, the flu shot is not recommended for children who are
sick with fever, have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome or an egg or
mercury allergy. Children who have had a severe reaction to a flu shot
in the past should not get the vaccine either, unless they’ve had an
allergy evaluation or desensitization.
It takes about two weeks after being vaccinated to develop immunity
to the flu, so the ideal time to get the vaccine is between late October
and early November before peak flu season, which is usually between
December and March. Pediatrician offices and urgent care centers, such
as Baptist Minor Medical Centers, usually offer flu shots for a minimal
The CDC also recommends parents and caregivers do the following to help prevent the flu:
- Make hand-washing supplies available and easily
accessible to children and caregivers (especially in child care and
- Frequently clean surfaces, toys and shared items (at least daily and when visibly soiled).
- Encourage children and caregivers to cover their
noses and mouths with a tissue when they cough or sneeze. They also
should dispose of the tissue immediately and wash their hands afterward
- Be alert to symptoms of the flu or other
respiratory illnesses in children, and keep sick children away from
other children or send them home if in a child care setting.
- Keep children home if they’re sick. Parents and caregivers should follow this advice, as well, if they’re sick.
For more information on influenza or flu shots, visit www.baptistonline.org.