By Dr. Tara Kompare, Pharm.D. - The Medicine Mom
The Flu Fighters
have seen them before - mothers sporting backbacks equipped with
disinfectant sprays, highchair liners, and a gallon of hand sanitizer.
To some they may appear silly, paranoid even, but to those of us
who have survived a flu infestation during the holidays, they are
our role models for the flu season.
influenza virus spreads like wildfire and knowing how to prevent
yourself and others from catching this Bah-humbug virus
can hopefully help you build happy holiday memories this year. To
keep the flu out of your home, follow these tips:
Get Vaccinated: It is easy to do, when the supplies are not limited,
and can decrease the risk of you and your family members catching
the flu. Although there is a chance you or your child could still
become infected, the severity and duration of symptoms will be less
severe after receiving a vaccine. The best time to get vaccinated
is in October or November and the flu season starts from as early
as October and ends as late as May. There are two types of vaccines
Flu Shot: No one likes a shot. At least, I dont know of anyone
and if I did they would probably not give me that warm and fuzzy
feeling. Anyway, shots are sometimes a necessary evil and one that
parents loathe more than their children. The shot contains a killed
virus and most people can receive this form of vaccination with
People with egg allergies
Children under six-months-old
Those who have developed Guillain-Barre syndrome within six weeks
of receiving a flu vaccine
People who have experienced an allergic reaction to the flu shot
in the past
Nasal Spray: This is a lot more user friendly but it has more restrictions
than the shot since it contains a weakened live virus. The following
people should not receive the nasally inhaled vaccine:
People under the age of five-years-old and greater than 49 years
Anyone with a chronic medical condition
Women who are pregnant
Follow Good Health Habits:
hands thoroughly and frequently: Scrub hands for fifteen seconds
with warm soap and water or apply a rinse-free hand sanitizer.
sanitizer caution: Keep instant sanitizers out of childrens
reach and only use on the hands. It can burn the skin when applied
to sensitive areas such as the face.
up: Try to remind your children to cough and sneeze inside a tissue.
home: Get some movies, chicken soup, ginger ale, and turn into human
couch potatoes together.
infected individuals: No play dates with feverish kids and no kisses
from sick grandmothers please!
to avoid touching the mouth, nose, and eyes: I know this is next
to impossible for kids to do that is why it is so important to make
sure their tiny hands stay clean.
Ask About Drug Treatments: There is no magic pill to get rid of
the flu but if someone in your home becomes infected, there are
some drug regimens that, when started early enough, can lessen the
duration and severity of flu symptoms. Consult your childs
doctor about possible options.
winter season is often accompanied by guests¾some welcomed
and some not. Hopefully, with the proper precautions, you will be
able to keep the flu out of your home and welcome your beloved guests
with arms wide open and mouths germ free.
(Parent Sanity Saver): Always keep some hand sanitizer on hand,
especially when venturing to childrens play areas in fast
food restaurants. These fun zones often harbor tons of hidden germs
just waiting to pop into the mouths of babes.
author is a doctor of pharmacy and mother of two amazing little
girls. You can visit her website at www.themedicinemom.com
or e-mail her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
information presented on this site is intended solely as a general
educational aid, and is neither medical nor healthcare advice for
any individual problem, nor a substitute for medical or other professional
advice and services from a qualified healthcare provider familiar
with your unique circumstances. Always seek the advice of your physician
or other qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical
condition and before starting any new treatment.