Posted On Nov 25, 2021
3 min read
3 min read
With the arrival of the flu season, begins the woes of every parent who has to send their kid to school. As scary and troublesome that the flu may be, it is relatively easy to manage if done right. All you need to do is explain it in simple words to your child. Let's see how you can prevent your little one from getting the flu from school.
What is flu?
Flu or seasonal influenza is a disease caused by influenza viruses. These viruses enter your respiratory tract via your nose and affect your throat and lungs. Flu differs from the common cold in intensity and severity. The flu can prove to be fatal and cause a severe illness in people who do not manage their symptoms early on. Influenza has been posing a substantial burden on children under five in India. Globally, Influenza has an annual attack rate of 20-30% in children.
Influenza or flu can cause mild to serious illness resulting in the following symptoms:
Shivering and chills
Loss of appetite
Vomiting and diarrhoea occasionally
Your child may or may not experience all the above symptoms.
Serious complications of flu may lead to pneumonia, worsening of heart disease and asthma, ear infections, brain inflammation and rarely death. Children with poor immunity are at higher risk of serious complications as compared to otherwise healthy children
How does flu spread?
You must know that flu is contagious and can spread via air droplets or contact with a diseased individual. Tiny droplets are released when an affected individual sneezes, coughs, or talks. These droplets land in the nose or mouth of the person near the diseased individual. The flu virus also spreads when you touch an object or surface that has the flu virus on it and then touch your face, nose, mouth, and eyes.
With kids, this is more common, since they tend to hug each other or keep touching their faces constantly.
How to prevent your child from getting the flu?
1. Wash hands often
Teach your child to wash their hands every time they touch their nose or mouth. Make it a habit for your little one to wash hands before and after meals, after visiting the toilet, and every time they cough or sneeze. Show the correct way of washing hands by practising the same in front of your child.
Teachers at school would also include this practice in their teaching aids or daily activities.
2. No sharing
Explain the importance of sharing with your kid as a part of good morals. But also explain the need for keeping personal items to themselves. Teach your little one to share but also tell them that sharing food, drinks, water bottle, handkerchief, and any other personal items can result in the possibility of contracting the flu virus. So, instead, let your kid share jokes and stories with his/her friends instead of personal stuff.
3. Always cover and cough
Since the flu virus spreads via air through tiny droplets, your kid must cover his/her nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing. Teach them the right way of covering their face, nose, and mouth with the help of their help. Why the elbow instead of the palm, you may ask? Well, the elbow is not in constant touch with fellow kids. But, the palms sure do touch other surfaces and kids. Hence, to minimise the chances of exposure and spread of the virus, it is best to cover your face with your elbow.
Teach your child to use tissue always and wipe their mouth and nose properly. They must wash their hands after they sneeze or cough.
4. Disinfect and clean
The flu virus is known to stay alive for about 48 hours on most surfaces. During this period, it can infect a person and cause the flu illness in the individual. Hence, it is essential to clean all the surfaces of tables, chairs, countertops, computer keyboards, faucet handles, and doorknobs at all times. Any surface that is frequently touched by your child needs to be disinfected right away.
5. Healthy lifestyle
If your child’s immune system is strong and healthy, the flu and other viruses will remain at bay. Ensure that you provide a healthy lifestyle for your little one by eating nutritious food, sleeping adequately, and exercising daily. Build this lifestyle as a routine habit for you and your child and see how it helps improve your child’s immunity. A well-balanced diet that contains fruits and vegetables, basically the colours of the rainbow, will help boost your little one’s immunity.
6. Flu shot
Last but not the least, get your kid vaccinated against flu. The flu shot can be given to any children above 6 months of age. 2 shots of the vaccine with a minimum 4-week gap help to build good immunity in children to fight the flu virus. As the flu virus undergoes mutation every year, it is important to take a subsequent single shot of flu every year to continue being protected from the virus.
The child specialists at Manipal Hospital provide flu treatment for children in Salem and are highly experienced in treating kids.