The weekly influenza surveillance report generated on the 30th of November cited that the 2019-20 flu season has already begun across the country. While some states are currently experiencing low flu activity, the levels are expected to rise in the coming weeks.
Influenza—also known as flu—is a highly contagious illness that affects people of all ages. The symptoms are quite similar to that of a common cold but the two are different as the former is caused by a virus.
Although you can catch a flu around any time of the year, the odds are higher in winters. Why is that so?
Let’s find out:
Flu and winter—what’s the link?
Just like the holiday season and shopping season, the US has a flu season too that starts in October and gains momentum in December. According to research carried out by Harvard University, the cold might be a contributing factor but the low temperature doesn’t directly cause influenza. The presence of an influenza virus is important.
Some key reasons why the prevalence of a flu becomes more common in winters is:
- Most of us spend more time indoors in winters so chances of breathing in the same air as an infected family member are higher.
- Our sun exposure decreases in the winter seasons. This consequently affects the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D and Melatonin. As a result, our immune system weakens, and we become more susceptible to contracting viral diseases.
- The influenza virus is more likely to survive cold and dry temperatures as opposed to warmer climates.
What can you do?
If you’re a parent reading this, you definitely don’t want to see your child skipping school because of the flu.
Here are some tips to help them combat flu this winter season:
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every six months and older must get a flu vaccine once a year! In the year 2018, flu vaccination reduced the need of being admitted in an ICU on account of flu—by 82%!During the same time, these vaccines also prevented around 91,000 flu-related hospitalizations. Another study from 2017 stated that flu vaccines in children are crucial to preventing the flu from being fatal.
- Help your little one maintain a reasonable distance from someone dealing with flu. Since the infection is contagious, it can easily pass on from one person to another. If a relative has a flu, avoid visiting their place till they’ve fully recovered. Even if you’re visiting, don’t take the child along.
- If you have caught the flu and have a little one to take care of, you need to be extra careful. Every time you cough or sneeze, make sure you’ve covered your mouth well. Wash your hands with anti-bacterial cleaning gel every now and then and especially before picking up the child.
- Keep them warm. Give them a warm bath. Use a humidifier to keep their room warm and humid.
- Never give medicine to children without consulting a pediatrician. A pediatrician will not only provide the right healthcare but will also help you devise a preventative care schedule. Be open with the pediatrician and discuss all your concerns. They’ll provide an immunization schedule for the child that will be approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- It’s also better to opt for in-house pediatrics allergy testing services to be sure that the child’s flu-like symptoms aren’t indicative of a more serious problem.
If you’re looking for excellent medical care for your child along with state-of-art facilities and friendly staff, look no further than A thru Z pediatrics. We are a pediatrician medical center based in San Antonio that specializes in preventative healthcare for children. Book an appointment now.