4 Ways to Protect Your Child From the Flu and COVID-19
The Doc Smitty's Advice for Parents this Flu Season
Man…it’s going to be a doozy of a winter.
And while I’m confident that we’ll get through it together, I need your help.
Ruling out COVID-19 for kids with symptoms (some mild, some more severe) has become the biggest reason for kids visiting our office. We’ve already seen kids getting sick as they go back to school and that makes me nervous about what the upcoming flu season is going to look like.
Because the symptoms of flu overlap with COVID-19 so much, it’s going to be difficult to tell whether flu or COVID-19 is causing your child’s flu-like illness. And, there’s no guarantee that a child can’t get both at the same time.
So with the flu season nearing, you probably have a lot of questions that need to be answered about this possibility:
- Does every child with flu-like illness need to be tested for both?
- Does getting COVID-19 and the flu at the same time mean your child will be more at risk for severe illness?
- Will we have enough COVID-19 testing available to continue avoiding unnecessary quarantines?
- I hope so, but every time we test a child for COVID-19 because they have flu-like illness, we have fewer tests available.
Here are some things you can do to help your child and yourself (and me):
- Get your child their flu shot. ASAP. The effectiveness of the flu shot does vary from year to year. It’s not perfect. But, it’s the best we have. And even decreasing the amount of flu by 60% this year will change the lives of those children: Avoiding not one but two tests. Avoiding the worrying during the waiting time and wondering if your child has flu, COVID-19 or something else.
- Start practicing hand washing. Children need to be taught to wash their hands adequately and often.
- Wear your mask, even in situations where you think it might not be necessary. It will not only protect against COVID-19, it will protect against the flu as well. We, as a health care provider and a society, cannot afford to have a terrible flu season this year.
- Keep yourself and your child home if you are sick. This is important…every…single…year. But it is especially important this year. Don’t be the family that knocks over the first domino. Even if you aren’t seen by a doctor, waiting a day can be helpful to see if your simple symptoms progress or go away.
Let’s all do our part.
We can do this!
Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.
Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Smith is an experienced keynote speaker for a variety of topics including pediatric/parenting topics, healthcare social media and physician leadership. If you are interested in having Dr. Smith present to your conference or meeting, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's checkupnewsroom.com. He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.