The Flu Season Arrives in Time for Thanksgiving
Doc Smitty with 5 ways to protect your kids
Here’s something NOT to be thankful for this week – the flu has arrived in our area.
Just in time to travel for the Thanksgiving holidays, 23 kids tested positive for the flu (20 Influenza A, 3 Influenza B) last week (November 12-18). That’s the most patients we’ve seen since a really bad 2014. In comparison, we did not see a single case of the flu during the month of November in 2015 and 2016.
“We’re seeing flu consistently now, and I expect it to continue increasing,” said Morgan Pence, Ph.D., a clinical microbiologist at Cook Children’s.
So what can parents do to protect their kids from the flu? Here’s some advice:
- Get the flu shot. The flu shot takes two weeks before it can protect you from the virus. So you won’t have time for it to work the time you get to the grandparents’ house, but promise me you will get your vaccine as soon as you can. Click here to read more about the flu shot.
- Teach your kids to cover coughs. Remember to cough into the crook of your elbow and not into your hands. And throw away the tissues.
- Wash your hands. Other than a vaccine, this is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your kids from the flu. Teach kids to use soap and wash their hands for at least 20 second or long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” or Adam Sandler’s “Thanksgiving Song” (just making sure you are paying attention).
- Call ahead. You’ve waited (or in some cases dreaded) all year to see the relatives, but it might be worth a call to see how everyone’s feeling. If someone is sick, steer your child away from the person as much as possible. Maybe, make a joke (but be firm) about a quarantine room for the sick folks.
- If your kids do get sick while you are out of town, keep them comfortable. Give them an antiviral medicine (Tamiflu) and make sure they have fever reducers – ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Hope this helps. Everyone have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving.
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. 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.