How to Prevent Cold and Flu

Flu is an infection that causes fever, chills, cough, body aches, headaches, and sometimes even earaches or sinus problems. It is caused by the influenza virus, a microorganism that can travel in the air and infect other people once inhaled. The flu usually goes away in one or two weeks, but it sometimes affects people more severely than others. 

This disease spares no one, especially kids under age 5, people older than 65, as well as those who have health problems like diabetes and asthma. Your child is no different. That is why your child-no matter how healthy they are-should get a flu shot, or a vaccine. Flu vaccines are usually given in the fall, before flu season starts, to immune your body against the flu virus. Flu season usually runs from November to April.

How does a flu vaccine works?

A flu shot protects one’s body from getting a severe case of flu, and if one gets infected by flu it would only yield mild symptoms and recovery would become faster. Like any other vaccines, a flu shot is given using a syringe. However, if your child is afraid of having a needle pressed in his or her skin, you should consider a nasal mist flu vaccine wherein a spray is squeezed out into the nose.

Whichever option you choose, your child should be given a new flu shot every year. This is because flu virus mutates every year as it tries to be immune from the vaccine.

How does the flu spread?

The influenza virus is released to the air by the people who suffer from flu, either through sneezing, coughing, or even laughing. You can catch the flu when you breathe those tiny drops that contain the virus or when those drops get on your hands, mouth, or nose.

That is why it is important to remind your child to cover his or her mouth and nose when sneezing to keep the flu virus from spreading too quickly.

What should I do if my child gets the flu?

No matter how much you try to protect your child from people who sneeze or having him or her wash hands, there would be a slim chance for your child to get sick with flu. When you suspect that your child is sick with the flu, bring him or her to the pediatrician for consultation and check-up to confirm the sickness.

Once you know that it is flu that downed your child, help him or her feel better by letting your child get plenty of sleep iin a bed or couch; drink lots of liquids like water and chicken broth;and have him or her take the medicine that the doctor has recommended or prescribed.   Avoid giving aspirin to your child as it may cause Reye’s Syndrome, an extremely fatal disease. This recovery period last for two weeks, so let your child stay home and skip school.

However, if your child has trouble breathing, muscle pains, or nauseous, it is best to consult the doctor once more.

Raising a Healthy Kid

Caring parents nowadays are concerned of their child’s health. As we know by now, a "chubby" child is not a sign of a healthy child. A fit child is one who eats well, gets a lot of physical activity, and has a healthy weight. Here are some steps parents should take in taking care of their child’s physical being.

Start them early – If you have an infant, it is best to train their tastebuds to get used to eating healthy through finely ground fruits and vegetables for baby food. Once your child can eat solid foods, include sliced fruit and steamed vegetables in the dishes.

Serve healthy meals – Always provide balanced meals for your family, taking note of generous servings of fruit and vegetables in a day. Your kid may have their own favorite foods, but you can incorporate that with other healthy ingredients for that new twist.

Encourage your child to drink water and milk – Quench your child’s thirst with a glass of water taking note that at least 8 full glasses of water is needed by the body every day. Also, remind your child to grab a carton of milk in their cafeteria at school. Milk is rich in calcium, which they need to grow strong bones and encourages height increase as well.

Have the family take outdoor activities – Take your family on a nature hike or just gather the family for some backyard games. Either way, encourage your kids to be physically active.

Limit your child’s screen time – It is best to limit the number of hours your child watches TV and DVDs, as well as playing console and handheld video games. Although experts recommend a limit of two hours a day (excluding using the computer for homework), we know that would be difficult for some children. In this case, encourage your kids to finish their homework first before they get their hands on the video games or TV, but make sure to provide a strict bed time.

Consider sports – Getting your child into sports such as soccer and martial arts is one way to get your child to become physically active. It is best to ask your child what sports they like, or figure out your child’s potential to excel in another sport. Your kids might be good at basketball, dancing, or gymnastics. If your child feels bored on sports, consider installing a trampoline in your backyard and let your kid to give it a try. He or she may not realize that a simple task of jumping up and down the trampoline is a tough, but fun, physical activity.

Set a good example – A healthy kid should also have healthy parents. Consider playing some sports with your child or eat a balanced meal as well. In that way, your child sees you as their role model.