Flu in Children - Prevention

What prevention measures do you use to avoid getting child's flu?

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Flu in Children Prevention

  • Hand washing with soap and water or an alcohol hand gel is an important way to prevent picking up a flu virus. Avoid touching the mouth, nose, or eyes prior to hand washing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill. Droplets from a cough or sneeze can spread infection and are estimated to be able to travel about 6 feet.
  • Vaccination is the mainstay of flu prevention. The killed flu vaccine (a flu shot) should be given during the fall. In children, the flu vaccine can be given to children older than 6 months of age and in two separate doses for children younger than 9 years of age who have not been previously vaccinated.
  • The flu vaccine is also available as a nasal spray (FluMist) for healthy children 5 years of age or older, adolescents, and adults 49 years of age or younger. Children 5-8 years of age who have not received the flu vaccine as a nasal spray before require two doses about two months apart. Children who take aspirin should not receive the live vaccine.
  • Keep children with the flu at home while the fever lasts. Once the fever is gone, children may return to school and day care.
  • Adults can spread the flu to others from about one day before they feel sick to five to seven days into the illness. People with weak immune systems or children may pass the flu virus even longer than seven days.
  • For 2009-2010, two distinct vaccines were available, one for the seasonal influenza strain, and one for the H1N1 strain. For the 2010-2011 season and for the current 2012-2013 season, the H1N1 vaccine is included in the regular seasonal flu vaccine. The current vaccine is available both as a killed injection or live nasal spray.
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