Flu-Buster – 7 Tips for Parents

Flu-Buster Tips for ParentsHazmat suit

I’m sure it’s not on your to–do list to turn your child into a complete hypochondriac. But, if adding a silver Iron Man Hazmat suit to your kids back–to–school wardrobe is starting to sound enticing, you may want to consider calming down. Here are a few flu and cold prevention tips for this coming flu season.

Tip 1: Remain Calm
Ok, before you reach for your disinfectant and begin your war on germs, take a deep breath and relax. You are the parent. You are the one responsible for teaching them about life. Your children are listening and reacting to everything you say and don’t say. You’re the one that teaches them what’s important, what to fear and what not to fear. If they hear you talking about all the worst case situations and see that you are anxious it will affect them. So, combat the flu fears by making them feel safe and having a family plan.Kids love being involved and having specific “jobs” they can do to help out.

Tip 2: Wash Your Hands (and theirs)
You can lead a kid to sudsy water but that doesn’t mean that they’ll wash. I’m really not sure why kids have issues with hand washing but most simply don’t do it. Your kid needs to wash their hands if they’re going to be a Flu–Buster this school season. Here are some tips to make hand washing more fun:

  • Sing “Happy Birthday” twice while washing your hands. Kids love this song. And with this, you can make a fun game out of washing your hands. (Switch the words around, use a funny voice or sing in a foreign accent.)
  • Make sure that you lather up too. Your kid is one of the clearest mirrors in your life. If you show them that hand washing is important to you, it’ll be important to them as well.
  • Praise your child when they wash their hands. I mean go all out! Shout their praise with a bullhorn if you have to. You’ve got to get your child excited about hygiene if cleanliness is going to be a lifestyle for them. It might be embarrassing but don’t be afraid. Your kid loves you and will thank you later.
  • Actively use online resources. There’s limitless information devoted to teaching your children about good hygiene. Just doing a simple search online can send you to websites filled with online games, lesson plans, and coloring pages that will make hand washing informative and fun for your child.

Tip 3: Teach kids – No face touching with dirty hands
Kids and adults need to know how they can catch the flu. According to the CDC, touching your eyes, nose, mouth or ears after touching an infected surface is a good way to get sick.1 So, it’s important to teach your child not to rub their eyes or dig for gold in their nasal cavity like they normally would. Touching and scratching their face is ok when their hands are clean. If they need to rub, scratch or blow their nose they should use a tissue and then throw it away. For the cold and flu season, it’s also a good practice to add more tissues to the shopping list and put them everywhere – purse, backpack, coat pockets, car and coffee table.

Tip 4: Contact your kid’s school or daycare
Kids love to share. Everyday at school kids share laughs, lunch, hugs, punches, kicks, sneezes, mucus, and germs. So it’s perfectly reasonable that you should want your schools to do their best to prevent the spread of any infectious diseases. Many schools are already actively seeking ways to ensure that your children are not at risk of getting sick. But, it’s still a smart idea to check in with your administrators and know what they’re planning to do in response to this coming flu season. Does your child need to have their own hand sanitizer and tissues? Is there any way to help support the teacher or nurses? If a flu outbreak occurs at the school, will you be notified?

Tip 5: If sick, keep your child at home
There’s something in life that I like to call the merry–go–round of sickness. It goes a little something like this. Child gets sick. Goes to school. Gets others sick. Child gets better but gets sick again because their best friend at school has what they had. And the merry–go–round goes on and on. The only way to prevent this from happening is to keep your child home when they’re sick.

Once they begin showing flu–like symptoms (high temp, sore throat, an aching body, chills, or fatigue) you need to give them your attention as soon as possible.2 If your kid goes to school sick, there’s a chance they’ll have another ride on the merry–go–round later. Nonetheless, if your little one starts showing these symptoms you should take them to receive medical attention immediately.

Tip 6: What about Flu care support?

One of the most dreaded calls that a parent gets is from the school nurse telling them that they have to pick up their child. Why do these calls always seem to happen at the busiest time or when there is a critical client meeting? If you don’t have a nearby relative or have the flexibility of working from home, then it’s time to build your “Flu Back–up Support!”

With the possibility of a flu pandemic, we haven’t got an idea of what challenges there may be in store. Even if you have someone who can take care of a sick child, it would be wise to take time to expand your network for childcare. Develop a list of moms, relatives, friends from church, babysitters and retirees that are dependable and trustworthy.

Tip 7: Talk to your kids
The most important thing to do is to make sure your kids know what’s going on. If you talk to them and let them and explain what the flu is and how to prevent it, they’ll be more willing to do what you’re asking of them. Of course, keep it age appropriate and don’t turn “The Flu” into another monster hiding under the bed. Inform your children that this is serious. Spend time talking to them and making sure they understand why they need to be a Flu–Buster this school year.

Here is a list of Serious Flu Symptoms1:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Refusing to be held while sick
  • Flu–like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough