Fight the flu; wash your hands!

Flu season is in full swing!

Parents, please talk to your kids about how important it is to wash your hands! It seems like a no-brainer, but it can make all the difference. To prevent the spread of influenza virus, rub your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. That is the amount of time it takes to recite the alphabet or sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

The flu is a contagious illness that affects the nose, throat, lungs and other parts of the body and can spread quickly from one person to another. The flu is different from a cold and can be very dangerous for older people, young children and people with certain health conditions, according to the New York State Department of Health (DOH).

How can I protect my child against the flu?

According to the CDC and the New York State Health Department, the first and most important thing you can do is get a flu vaccine for you and your family. The vaccination is recommended for everyone six months of age and older. For more information about the vaccine, talk to your doctor.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

The flu comes on suddenly. Symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. Not all people with the flu will have a fever.

What can I do if my child gets sick?

Talk to your doctor early if you are worried about your child’s illness.
  • Children 5 years and older without other health problems: Consult your doctor as needed and make sure your child gets plenty of rest and drinks enough fluids.
  • Children younger than 5 — and especially those younger than 2and those of any age who have a long-term health condition such as asthma or diabetes are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu. Talk with your doctor.

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get the flu by touching something that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.

Can my child go to school or day care if he or she is sick?

No. Your child should stay home to rest and avoid giving the flu to other children or caregivers.

When can my child go back to school after having the flu?

Healthcare professionals recommend children stay home until they’re well enough to go back to school. This is typically about 24 hours after symptoms begin to improve. If your child has a fever, a good rule of thumb is to keep them home for at least 24 hours after their fever (a temperature of 100’F or higher) is gone. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.   

Teach children to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or to cough into their sleeve, not their hand! Throw tissues in the trash after you use them.

What if my child seems very sick? Seek emergency care or take your child to a doctor right away if he or she has any of the warning or emergency signs below:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids (not going to the bathroom or making as much urine as he or she normally does)
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough.

If you’re interested in learning more, the state DOH has a wealth of information on its seasonal flu web page, including a parent fact sheet translated into multiple languages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) also has a flu fact section on its website. 

We wish you a healthy rest of the winter season, Hudson Falls families!