As fall approaches, many moms dread the germs their children will be exposed to at school and then bring home with them. Every year during cold and flu season — generally December through February — millions of children and adults in the United States are affected by either a common cold or the flu.
According to the CDC, approximately 22 million school days are lost each year in the United States due to colds. It is estimated that Americans have as many as 1 billion colds per year.1
Both colds and the flu are caused by viruses. Luckily, there are many things parents can do to help prevent colds and flu from taking over their homes, or at the very least manage the symptoms better if these interlopers do arrive.
We asked several moms for their top tips on flu prevention and staying healthy when flu season hits.
1) Boost Immunity.
“A lot of us depend on the flu shot to prevent the flu, but it’s important to take precautions all year round! Our bodies are powerful and have the system to fight off illness. Make sure you get enough sleep and eat healthy. I also give my body extra vitamin C to boost my immunity.” – Michelle, mother of one.
2) Make hand washing a normal after-school activity.
“When we get home, everyone washes their hands first thing. It takes a lot of nagging – I remind everyone while we’re in the car as we pull into the driveway.” – Misty, mother of two.
3) Have health information and resources at hand.
“Call your doctor ahead of time or talk to a health care professional on LiveHealth Online to learn more about flu symptoms, know what to look out for in your family, and refill prescriptions. A lot of people seek information and call when they are already sick. Being a step ahead is great.” – Dr. Mia Finkelston, medical director of Online Care Group, P.C., and mother of three.
Make sure the phone number for your family doctor’s office or clinic, as well as other emergency numbers, are in a location that’s visible to all family members.
When you or a family member does fall ill, online doctor visits, like those available through LiveHealth Online, are a great option for moms to speak with a U.S.-based board-certified doctor, especially when you’re dealing with a busy schedule. Communication tools like LiveHealth Online can provide peace of mind by making doctors available online, 24/7, when your child wakes up in the middle of the night feeling under the weather or is feeling sick after school but there isn’t enough time to visit the doctor in person.
With LiveHealth Online, you can have a face-to-face conversation with a doctor on your computer or mobile device on your own time.
Take the time to register for an online health tool like LiveHealth Online, so it’s ready to use when you might need it most.
Most episodes of cold and flu don’t require a trip to the emergency room. However, many parents are unsure as to how to treat particular symptoms at home, and are uncertain if they should take their children to urgent care or the emergency room.
LiveHealth Online can give you 24/7 access to a health professional who is licensed to practice in your state and can answer your questions at any time in the comfort of your own home.
This kind of consultation can help you manage cold and flu symptoms at home, and advise if a visit to the emergency room or a follow-up appointment with your regular family doctor is necessary.
Even though an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and despite your best efforts, your family might get hit by a cold or flu bug.
4) Stay hydrated.
“It’s important to keep hydrated. Make sure your child eats soups and drinks plenty of fluids. Humidifiers and vaporizers can be helpful. So can a bowl of steaming water with eucalyptus oil. Put a towel over your child’s head like a tent and breathe in the steam from the bowl.” – Jody, mother of five.
One of the best ways to handle any situation is to be prepared. You never know when you or another family member is going to come down with a cold or flu. But if you’re well-prepared, you will feel more in control and ready to take on any fever or sniffle.
Reviewed September 14, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
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