Given the outbreak of COVID-19 society has been dealing with for over seven months now, disease awareness is at a peak for many, including parents of young children. And unfortunately, complicating this somewhat is another related reality: We’re entering flu season.
At Smart Kids Development Center, we’re proud to take great care to prevent disease spread in all of our child care and daycare programs, whether it’s COVID-19, the flu or any other sickness that can be passed around by children who might not be as careful as adults. While adding flu season to the existing pandemic certainly isn’t a positive, one silver lining is the fact that many of the same techniques we’ve all already been practicing for months will also be very useful in preventing flu spread in or from your children. This two-part blog series will dig into several important areas for keeping you and your child safe from the flu this season.
First and foremost is one area we’re still awaiting when it comes to COVID-19, but one that’s been available for the flu for years: A vaccine. Each year brings a different flu vaccine, as the flu is a fast-morphing disease that presents itself in new ways every year that must be accounted for.
The flu vaccine can be given to any child over six months of age, so this should be an automatic decision for you this fall. While the vaccine is not 100% foolproof and will still allow some people to get the flu, it will significantly limit the cases or spread risks, and will often make flu cases that do appear far less severe than they would be without a vaccine.
As we just noted, the vaccine will not prevent 100% of cases, and some parents unfortunately will not have their children vaccinated. For this reason, it’s important to know flu symptoms in case your child does come down with them. These include many of the symptoms of the normal cold, such as fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches and more. If these are persistent across multiple days, see your child’s doctor.
One major COVID-19 prevention theme that’s easily transferred to flu season: Hand-washing, which should already be a priority for kids regardless. Encourage them to wash their hands frequently both at home and at school, especially after using the bathroom. If possible, also outfit them with some hand sanitizer they can use when hand-washing is not possible, plus show them how and when to use it.
If your child does become sick, or even if they might be just dealing with allergies and you want to be sure, make sure they know proper coughing and sneezing etiquette. Coughing or sneezing should be done into a tissue or an elbow area – avoid the hand and never cough or sneeze outwardly into open air, especially if other people are in the room.
For more on keeping your child safe from the flu, or to learn about any of our after school, preschool or other child care services, speak to the staff at Smart Kids Development Center today.