Helping Kids Understand Flu Prevention

No matter how much we try to stay away from the flu, the truth is that we may come

in contact with a shopping cart, door handle or even a product on a shelf that has

been touched by someone with the flu. The flu virus can stay alive on many surfaces

for up to 48 hours. Because of this, flu prevention starts with limiting exposure, but

it’s also important to take the basic personal precautions as well. This starts with

washing our hands often and not touching our faces. Now is a great time to teach

kids these basic rules.

Understandably, kids have the hardest time with this protocol, especially

with kids under 5. The CDC encourages parents to talk to children about the dangers

of close physical contact with someone who is sneezing or has fever. In their “Advice

for Parents on Talking to Children About Flu” report, the CDC also suggests teaching

young children the importance of sneezing into a tissue and then throwing that

tissue away immediately. It’s also important to teach your child that if a tissue is not

available to sneeze into his or her arm and not hand – where those germs can

spread easier. Hand washing is also important at a young age. Kids can be taught

proper hand washing and its importance at school and at home.

Of course, the CDC suggests that parents keep children who are sick with the

flu to stay at home. Teaching our young kids responsible behavior when it comes to

contagious diseases also teaches self-care and empathy for others. In “Cleaning to

Prevent the Flu,” the CDC also shows how kids can learn which household objects

most likely will come in contact with flu germs and the best way to avoid them, or

wash their hands after coming in contact with them. The more we educate our

children early about basic self care, the more likely they are to take these basic

precautions on their own.

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