October is the season for going to the pumpkin patch, watching colorful leaves fall, bundling up with scarves and mittens, and sharing flu germs. Ick! Many children are already exhibiting fits of sneezing, coughing, and slow dribbles of mucus from their little noses. According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) 20,000 children under the age of 5 will be hospitalized with flu-related complications. In addition to regularly vaccinating your child, the CDC recommends 5 everyday habits that can fight germs and prevent colds and flu.
1.Hunker down at home if your child is sick. Now is the time to rest up in order to get back on the road to a healthy recovery. Besides, sending your child to child care or school when they are feeling under the weather will only spread the sickness to other children and staff. It’s always helpful to post a quick guideline in your home in case you’re unsure when to keep your child home. This is an example created by the Public Health in Seatte, King County. In addition, the state of Oregon Office of Education has a list of signs and symptoms of communicable diseases.
2.Always cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Start modeling and encouraging your children turn away and cover their noses and mouths with the crook of their elbows. Use a tissue to cover sneezes, too. Covering your mouth and nose with your hands only captures the germs and solidifies the possibility of children touching another source or person with those just now infected hands. Whether you use a tissue or your elbow to cover a cough or sneeze, it’s always best practice to immediately wash your hands with soap and warm water. This leads us to the next step. The CDC offers helpful diagrams and posters to show young children how to cover their noses and mouths appropriately. What a great idea to print off one and post next to the kids’ sink!
3.Wash your hands with soap and water regularly, especially after you cough or sneeze. Research
has shown that routine handwashing with soap and water is still more effective than using antibacterial hand sanitizers when fighting the spread the germs. If you do use hand sanitizers make sure to monitor your child’s use for any accidental ingestion which could lead to alcohol poisoning.
4.Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
5.Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may come into contact with germs. Make an effort to clean and disinfect high traffic items like toys, countertops and tables, bathroom sinks, toilets, phones, and electronic devices more frequently during flu season.
The Parenting Hub would love to help ways how you combat cold and flu season in your home. Please send your ideas and tips to: email@example.com
Marion County Public Health
Preventing the Spread of Illness in Child Care or School
Information for School and Child Care Providers