Flu, which is common during the rainy or monsoon season, is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system. It can cause fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, and fatigue. Flu can be more serious for children and seniors, who are at higher risk of complications such as pneumonia, ear infection, sinus infection, or dehydration. Here are some tips on how to take care of children and seniors during the flu season:
Get Flu Vaccination
The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu. It is recommended for everyone 6 months and older, especially children and seniors. You can get the flu vaccine at your doctor's office, pharmacy, or local health department. The flu vaccine is usually available from May to September each year.
Wash Your Hands Often and Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose, and Mouth
The flu virus can spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when someone coughs or sneezes. You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your own eyes, nose, or mouth. To prevent this, wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Also, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow.
Stay Home if you are Sick and Limit Contact with Others
If you or your child have flu symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, or fatigue, you should stay home and rest. Do not go to school, work, or other public places until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicine. This will help prevent spreading of the flu to others. Also, avoid close contact with people who are sick and keep a distance of at least 6 feet from them.
Drink Plenty of Fluids and Eat Healthy Foods
Flu can cause dehydration, especially in children and seniors who may lose their appetite or have vomiting or diarrhoea. To prevent this, offer them plenty of liquids such as water, juice, soup, or oral rehydration solution. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee or soda which can make dehydration worse. Also, encourage them to eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and dairy products that can provide them with nutrients and energy.
If your children or senior loved ones have flu symptoms, it is advisable to promptly visit the doctor for proper evaluation and medical care. For mild flu symptoms, take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen to reduce fever and pain, or a saline nasal spray to relieve nasal congestion, and cough drops or syrup to soothe the cough.
By following these tips, you can help keep yourself and your family healthy during the flu season.