From cooler temperatures to pumpkin pie, we welcome many things that come with the fall season, but the flu is not one of them. Dr. Katherine Leitner, a Vail pediatrician and mom, provides some important pointers to best prepare families for flu season.
How should a family prepare for flu season?
The most effective preventative measure is a flu vaccination. Everyone in the family should get a flu shot.
If experiencing flu-like symptoms:
- Cover your mouth when coughing
- Avoid touching your face
- Wash your hands with soap and water frequently
- Disinfect surfaces you come in contact with
- And stay at home for at least 24 hours
When should you get a flu shot?
The Centers for Disease Control recommends receiving a flu vaccine in October. Even if you did not receive the flu shot in October, it is still beneficial to obtain one throughout the flu season which can run through January or later. It is also important that everyone get the flu shot yearly, because the flu strain changes from year to year.
What about vitamin C and a healthy diet?
Studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin C during a cold does not actually improve the outcome or decrease the duration of illness. However, it is always important to stick to a healthy diet so you can build a good immune system for when you do get sick. During an illness, drinking lots of fluids and staying hydrated is very important.
What should you do if a child is showing flu symptoms?
Make an appointment with their health care provider right away. The provider can test for the flu and treat it with a medication if caught early. To prevent the spread of illness, keep your child out of school until he or she is feeling better.
Dr. Leitner is a TMCOne provider at the TMC Rincon Health Campus, near Drexel and Houghton.