Parents often ask how they can protect their children from the seasonal flu. Vaccination is the first step in prevention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine. Children younger than five—but especially children younger than two years old—are also in the high-risk category for experiencing complications if they should get the flu. Now is the best time for your child to get their flu vaccine.
Infants younger than six months cannot get a flu vaccine, but they are at increased risk for complications from seasonal flu. The best way to protect them is for family members, caregivers and household contacts to get a flu shot.
You can take several preventive measures to limit your family’s exposure to colds and other winter illnesses. Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise are great places to start. Also, remind your children to wash their hands regularly and cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. And most importantly, please keep your child at home should they have a cold.
If your child is having a difficult time keeping fluids down or you have noticed a decrease in their urine output, it’s best to contact your pediatrician for advice or an appointment. If your child is having breathing problems or your child is lethargic (sluggish, low on energy), you should also contact your pediatrician.