Thursday, October 29, 2009

Staying Well During the Flu Season Starts with You:

With reports of the H1N1 flu (or swine flu) spreading like wildfire, especially in kids, and the start of seasonal flu, many parents are worrying about how to keep their children from getting sick this fall and winter. There are many ways to keep the germs at bay. Check out the five tips below to help you (and others) stay well as the flu pandemic escalates.

• Teach your child good hygiene by encouraging them to wash their hands repeatedly throughout the day, especially before meals when their hands will be at their mouths. When washing your hands, tell your children to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice to ensure the proper washing length.

• Show your children how to use a tissue to cough or sneeze into and then have them immediately discard it in the trash. If there is no tissue readily available, then show your children how to properly cough or sneeze into the inside of their upper arm. This will ensure that their germs are not spread to others.

• When out in public, carry hand sanitizer with you wherever you go, and apply it to your kids’ hands often. When your child touches areas or things that many other people may have touched, such as grocery store carts and doorknobs, help your children use hand sanitizer. However, when possible, soap and water is best, so as soon as you return home, have your children wash their hands the old fashioned way.

• Teach your child to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth when at all possible during the flu season. Encourage toddlers to not put things in their mouth that do not belong, as this is the surest way to ingest germs.

• Keep your children away from adults and children who have been sick. Make sure you wait the proper incubation period when allowing your children to see family and friends that have been sick. Although a friend or family member may be feeling better, they could still be a carrier of the flu and still be contagious. If you are unsure of how long someone is contagious, call your doctor.

Stay healthy during this flu season!

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