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Keep Colds Away

Ahhh-choo! Sniffle-Sniffle-Sniffle.

Influenza, the common cold – these words make caregivers of young children frown. Did you know that it is normal for young children to have a cold eight times in a year? There are hundreds of different cold viruses and a young child’s immunity is not comparable to an adult’s. This is further compounded by infants, toddlers and preschoolers who tend to touch everything, put their hands into their mouth and play in close proximity to each other.

The common cold is the main reason adults miss work or that young children are unable to attend childcare or preschool. Every year in the U.S. there are millions of cases of the common cold. While adults have an average of 2-3 colds per year, children have many more.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the incidence of the flu last year was classified as a ‘high severity season’ with outpatient clinic and emergency department visits and influenza-related hospitalizations considered high. CDC recommends an annual influenza vaccination (for caregivers and all household members aged 6 months and older) as the best preventative measure against the flu and its complications for young children as it flu places a large burden on the overall health of young children.

Reduce the risk of getting a cold or the flu

  1. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze; teach your children how to cough or sneeze into their elbows.
  2. Throw tissues into the trash and wash your hands.
  3. Wash your hands with soap and water. Wash for 20 seconds (sing the Alphabet Song).
  4. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  6. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects.
  7. Avoid contact with those who are ill.

Caring for someone with a cold or the flu

  1. Encourage plenty of fluids.
  2. Provide ample periods for rest.
  3. If a doctor has prescribed antibiotics, take the complete prescription.
  4. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects.
  5. Stay home. (CDC recommends that people be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to work, school or a childcare setting).

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