Ring in the New Year with these Flu Prevention Tips

Flu activity peaks between December and February and can last as late as May. To ensure the start of a healthy new year, remind your friends and family of these flu prevention tips to stop the spread of germs:

  • Wash your hands often and use respiratory etiquette during flu season. There are many other respiratory viruses out there besides the seasonal flu, and the flu vaccine cannot protect against all of them.
  • Use hand sanitizer.
  • Postpone play dates with sick kids.
  • Wear appropriate outdoor clothing.
  • If you are sick with the flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading influenza to others.

If you haven’t already, get a flu shot. CHOC Children’s and the American Academy of Pediatrics urge that all children ages 6 months or older be immunized against influenza. It is especially important for people who are at high risk of complications from flu to get a flu vaccine, including:

  • Pregnant women
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People of any age with chronic medical conditions
  • People who are immunosuppressed
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Health care workers

For more health tips from the experts at CHOC, visit www.choc.org/health.     

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About Respiratory Synctial Virus (RSV)

The flu is not the only virus that local hospitals have been seeing this winter, other bugs – such as RSV, which causes cold-like symptoms – are making the rounds.

RSV can lead to serious illness, especially in infants and older adults. Infants and young children may experience a fever, reduced appetite, runny nose, cough, and wheezing. Older children and adults may have a runny nose, sore throat, headache, cough, and a feeling of general sickness.

RSV spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes, sending respiratory droplets into the air. These droplets can end up in other people’s eyes, mouths or noses, where they can cause infection. While there is no RSV vaccine, there are ways to help prevent infection.

To help prevent the spread of RSV, people who have cold-like symptoms should:

• Cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing

• Wash their hands often with soap and water for 15–20 seconds

• Avoid sharing cups and eating utensils with others

• Refrain from kissing others.

To learn more, please visit the following helpful links:

http://www.choc.org/healthlibrary/topic.cfm?PageID=P02541

http://www.cdc.gov/features/rsv/index.html

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