COLD AND FLU PREVENTION
By District Nurse Beth McVay, RN BSN
As we head into the cold and flu season it is important that parents know there are measures they can take to help keep their families healthy and to prevent the spread of cold viruses and influenza at school and in the greater community.
The first and most important step in protecting against the flu is getting vaccinated. Flu shots are widely available this time of year and parents should talk to their health care provider about getting their children the flu vaccine.
Other simple measures that can help keep your family and other families in the community healthy include:
- Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to prevent the spread of germs. Teach your child to cough or sneeze into an elbow or a tissue and then to discard the tissue into the trash.
- Remind children to wash hands regularly with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Remind children to avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
- Teach your children to stay at least six feet away from people who are sick. They should avoid shaking hands, kissing, hugging or sharing cups and eating utensils with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially when someone is ill.
It is important that parents keep children home if they do become ill with flu-like symptoms so that they do not spread the illness to their friends, classmates and teachers. Children should stay home for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medicines), except to get medical care or for other necessities.
If you have any questions or concerns about you or your child’s symptoms contact your health care provider.
DON'T LET LICE GET TO YOUR HEAD
Head lice are a nuisance. There is no getting around it. Most families won’t have to deal with the problem, but those who do will not soon forget the experience.
Fortunately, lice don’t carry disease and their presence on a child does not indicate neglect, poor hygiene or sloppy housekeeping. It just means the child got too close to someone else with lice.
Lice are tiny grey or brown wingless insects that live on the human scalp and move by crawling. They spread from one person to another by head-to-head contact or by sharing personal items like hats, hair brushes and scarves.
Treating for lice requires diligence. The regiment includes treating the scalp, removing live (crawling) lice and their eggs, called nits, and washing and thoroughly vacuuming the home.
For more information on treating and eradicating lice, click HEAD LICE