5 ways to protect your child from the flu

5 ways to protect your child from the flu

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between five and 20 percent of Americans suffer from the flu each year, resulting in more than 200,000 hospitalizations and between 3,000 to 49,000 deaths.

Since a child’s immune system is immature, a child is more susceptible to the virus, warns Dr. Malli Challapalli, infectious disease specialist at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill.

“Parents need to take swift and deliberate actions in protecting children from the flu, since influenza can cause serious illness and death, particularly among children under 2 years of age,” Dr. Challapalli says. “Vaccination is the best method for preventing flu and its potentially severe complications in children.”

Children with chronic health conditions are at an even greater risk of contracting the flu and may experience severe medical complications, he says.

Each year, around 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized because of influenza complications.

Dr. Challapalli recommends the following five tips to help prevent the flu for your child this season:

  1. The most important thing you can do is get a flu vaccine for yourself and your child. Vaccination is recommended for everyone six months and older.  Ensure that all of your children’s care providers get the flu vaccine.
  2. Stay away from people who are sick with cold and cough symptoms and avoid high traffic public areas when possible.
  3. Cover coughs and sneezes. Teach children to cough into their elbow.
  4. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth after touching public surfaces as germs spread this way.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.