Cold Temps and Flu… Winter is Really Here!

Winter temperatures have arrived all over the U.S. On the East Coast we are now in the teens and below– and the flu “epidemic” is in full swing. Teachers are cautioning students to cough into their sleeves if they don’t have a tissue. Appointments for some primary care providers can only be obtained two weeks out…we ask them to call if there are any cancellations.

Even though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definitely termed the flu an epidemic, health news correspondents continue to debate whether or not the flu has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. this year. Our entire household has had it even though we got our flu shots! Our doc says it would have been worse had we not received the flu shot. We are simply glad our bouts with it have subsided for now, and we hope that if the flu arrives at your household, you are able to manage it without too much distress. Here are a few more flu-wise precautions:

  • When family members do get sick, remaining home from daycare, school, work and crowded gatherings, is key to not spreading the flu.
  • Paying attention to kids’ temps and whether or not their coughs are productive is important. If a child’s fever seems too high or lasts too long, please call your primary care provider or take your child to the local Emergency Room ASAP.
  • Watch and listen to children’s coughs to make sure the bug doesn’t progress to serious bronchitis or pneumonia. If their coughs are productive check the color of the mucus… clear is good… anything with a yellowish or greenish cast should get a physician’s review.
  • If your child is experiencing difficulty breathing or respiratory distress, call 911.
  • Make sure to keep kids warm and hydrated when they are sick at home. If your child is experiencing repeated bouts of diarrhea with no let-up, call your primary care provider or take your child to the local Emergency Room.Children can become dehydrated quickly and that’s dangerous!
  • Keep track of how well children are eating–if they are not hungry, don’t force them to eat. Lighter meals work better with upset tummies…clear broth, toast, gelatin, ginger ale, salted crackers are in order. It’s probably best to refrain from spicy foods.
  • If children are well and can go out to play, cover their heads with hats, facemasks or scarves, hands (with mittens or gloves) and feet (socks, shoes, boots) when they are headed out doors. This is not the time of year for little toes to walk barefooted–even indoors, vinyl, tile and hardwood floors can be cold.
  • Monitor amount of play time kids spend outdoors–it’s easy when they are bundled up and playing, for them to become overheated under bulky winter snow jackets, etc. Check periodically to make sure children’s clothes and feet are dry and that there are no signs of frostbite on exposed skin. Layering their clothing will help keep them warm.
  • Remember to keep emergency numbers by your telephone.

If the flu bug should arrive at your home, we sincerely hope your family’s experience will be a mild one!

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