Preventing Flu, RSV, COVID-19 and Other Respiratory Illnesses this Winter
The transition to fall and winter often marks the start of cold and flu season. As the weather grows colder and indoor holiday gatherings become more common, we typically see an influx of children coming to the emergency department with symptoms of the common cold, flu, COVID-19, RSV, rhinoviruses and various other respiratory illnesses. So how can you protect your child from getting sick with a respiratory illness? And if your child does become ill, how do you know if it’s time to go to the emergency department?
Know The Difference
How to protect against influenza (flu), RSV and COVID-19
Respiratory viruses like the flu, RSV and COVID-19 can spread when a sick person spreads the virus through droplets from sneezing, coughing, or talking. RSV can also spread when someone comes into contact with surfaces a sick person has touched and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. Here are some tips to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
Ensure each member of your family gets the annual flu shot.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all children ages 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine.
Stay home if you are not feeling well, especially if you have a fever or are showing symptoms of flu or other respiratory virus, and try to self-isolate from others in your household as much as possible. If you must go out, wear a mask to prevent the spread of germs to others.
Wash your hands regularly, especially before and after eating and after using the restroom.
Regularly disinfect shared surfaces in your home.
Cover your coughs and sneezes.
Don’t share cups, dishes, toys, or other items with someone who has symptoms of a respiratory illness.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
It’s important to stay vigilant about precautions like social distancing, wearing a mask and frequent handwashing this winter. Together, we can keep our kids, families and communities healthier.
Click here for a great handout and activity sheet to help everyone visualize what makes a Go Food to eat anytime, a Slow Food to eat sometimes, and a Whoa Food to eat only once in a while for healthy eating.