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Mother consoling her daughter who is blowing her nose

Everyday Steps for Avoiding Cold and Flu

By Sangita KhanalDhakal, FNP-C, Hampton Roads Pediatrics

We are exposed to germs all day, every day. Influenza, commonly called as flu is viral infection that attacks your respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. Typical symptoms of flu are fever, body aches, headache, sore throat, cough, tiredness, runny and stuffy nose. Some people may have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Cold also has similar symptoms but it goes away after a few days but the flu can cause severe problems and can lead to pneumonia. It is important to prevent ourselves and family by proper precautions: “prevention is better than cure”.

How can we protect ourselves and our families from getting sick and prevent the spread of germs? These everyday steps can help keep you and your family healthy.

  • When possible, limit or avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If your child has the flu, try to keep him away from others in the household.
  • Keep sick children home until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours - without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after use.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Be sure to wash your hands when returning home from work and encourage your children to wash theirs when they get home from school. Always wash your hands after using the bathroom.
  • Have children change into “play” clothes after returning home from school. To keep germs away, adults who work in the service industry or shared office space should also change clothes when they get home.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are easily spread this way.
  • Eat a balanced and healthy diet.
  • Clean and disinfect hard surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs, including bathroom and kitchen counters and children’s toys. Clean them by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.

While these steps can help keep you and your family from getting sick, a yearly flu vaccine is the best protection against flu illness. The flu season usually starts from September with peak during the month of December to February. With the increased risk of COVID, it is very important to get flu vaccination to all ages 6 months and older.

If you think your child has the flu, call your pediatrician. Since the flu is caused by a virus, pediatrician may prescribe an antiviral medicine. Children with the flu, especially if they have a chronic underlying condition like asthma, sometimes need prescription antiviral medications.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.