According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were nearly 5,000 deaths from flu between 2021 and 2022. Unfortunately, children have weaker immune systems than adults, meaning they are more likely to get sick during flu season — the time of year when cold and flu viruses are most common, which is typically between October and April.
While this statistic may sound alarming, you should not panic. There are things you can do as a parent to help keep your child healthy and protected against the flu. These pediatricians in Northwest Indiana offer five tips to help keep illness at bay during flu season.
The best way to protect your child this flu season is by getting them the flu vaccine. CDC recommends that all children six months and older get the flu vaccine. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop after getting vaccinated, so it’s important to get the vaccination before the peak of flu season.
Eating healthy foods is an excellent way for children to stay strong in the face of winter’s cold and flu season. The food you give your children significantly affects their health. If they do not get enough vitamins and minerals through food, they may be more susceptible to illness. Our 219 Health Network pediatricians recommend children eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids, including water and milk.
Your child needs sleep. Children who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be less healthy and have a weaker immune system. Children between the ages of six months and 5 years should get 11 to 14 hours of sleep every 24 hours, while children 6 years of age or older should get at least 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night.
Teaching your children about the importance of handwashing is the single most important thing you can do to reduce their risk of getting sick and spreading germs. If soap and water are unavailable, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good back up.
It is important to schedule a visit to your pediatrician at the first sign of symptoms. The pediatrician will diagnose your child’s illness and prescribe medication if needed. In most cases, children are prescribed Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate), which may shorten the duration of illness and reduce fever and other symptoms. Other treatment options include acetaminophen, ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications.
Is your child showing symptoms of the flu? Ready to schedule a visit with an affordable pediatrician in Northwest Indiana? If so, look no further than 219 Health Network. We have a team of licensed pediatricians on staff who specialize in preventive care for infants and children. Contact us today at (833) 219-0001 to schedule a visit.