2019 Update :: Thanks to iCare Emergency Room and Urgent Care for supporting this blog post and helping Fort Worth Moms spread the word about flu prevention. For more information, visit iCare online at www.icare-er.com or call the Fort Worth center (Chisholm Trail & Sycamore School Road) at 469-754-8634.
Disclaimer :: I am not a medical professional, and the information and opinions presented in this article are based on my experience and personal research and not of FWM or CMC.
What’s popping up on my social feeds with increasing frequency these days? Phrases like “another one bites the dust,” “flumageddon,” and “merry flu-mas.” The trend of friends and family suffering from flu on my newsfeed turned into actual news as North Texas landed in the top 10 U.S. locations for influenza cases.
Now that the winter break from school is almost over, this mama is racking her brain, thinking of ways we can keep the flu from our doorstep. These are the ideas floating through my mind . . .
Wash yo’ hands. Washing, washing, washing your hands with soap and water is the BEST way to kill those nasty influenza germs. When you go to the store, on errands, moving around the office, or ANYWHERE, wash your hands — all day, every day. Set this example for your kiddos.
Handwashing becomes tricky at school. (You’ll be surprised to learn that my daughter’s school does not require handwashing at any point during the day.) Remind your child to wash his or her hands at every given opportunity. The same applies for after-school activities; put handwashing on your and your child’s radar before and after each activity.
No touching! This is a tough one: Don’t put your hands in your mouth, nose, or eyes unless they are freshly washed. This right here is a likely culprit for many influenza exchanges. Encourage your kiddos with reminders about keeping hands on the table or in their laps instead of resting on faces.
This one is on the gross side but pertinent for younger kiddos: No touching tossed aside facial tissues. Be aware of people around you blowing their noses, coughing, etc. Don’t touch what they have touched. Encourage your kids to ask for cleaning or disinfecting wipes to clean his or her work space.
Take one for the team. Please, dearest, kindest, sweetest friend of mine out there in reader land, if your child has a fever — even a teeny, tiny fever — please do not send him or her to school. PLEASE. Influenza presents with all sorts of temperature readings, so a tiny fever could mean the ol’ flu. You better believe my girlies are staying on the couch in quarantine if the slightest temperature hits 100. We will likely also get the girls swabbed for confirmation. This helps medical professionals track the spread of influenza and helps your school track it as well.
Talk to the teach. Speaking of school, communicate with your children’s teachers, principals, and nurses. Find out: What are the hand-washing policies? What extra precautions are being taken to disinfect the school/classrooms? How many students are currently out with confirmed influenza? Can you provide disinfecting wipes for the class? If your child has health issues — such as asthma — consider requesting extra opportunities for handwashing and disinfecting surfaces your child frequently touches.
Obviously, getting my three year old to refrain from putting her hands in her mouth or rubbing her eyes is completely impossible. However, I will chat with her preschool teacher about gently reminding the little ones to keep hands off of their faces; heck, older students could use this reminder from their teachers too. Share with your teacher what you’re telling your kids about flu prevention, and ask if he or she would be willing to discuss the same info with the class.
Wardrobe change. When the kiddos arrive home from school, handwashing (shocker, right?) is the first item of business, and then a wardrobe change. Toss those dirty clothes in the laundry and put on some germ-free garb.
Whew, I feel healthier already. 😉 These are my tips; what are yours? How do you protect your family from the flu?
*Note from author: FWMB received several comments about the absence of the flu shot from this list. While my family does receive the influenza vaccine every year, the focus of this post was preventing flu, which the flu shot does not do. The flu vaccine does not protect you from contracting influenza, but lessens the symptoms should you get it. Thus, the vaccine’s absence from this list.