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Tips for Avoiding the Dreaded Holiday Flu

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Things we love about this time of year: warm sweaters and cozy nights.

Things we don’t love? Flu season.

Whether you’re a new mom or a flu season veteran, it’s normal to let your worries go into overdrive when your child is sick. It’s hard to see little ones suffering, drained of energy and so unlike their usual selves. You might actually find yourself missing the days they spent playing “the floor is lava”, knocking over lamps and screaming at you from the other room.

Until then, there will be no shortage of well-meaning advice coming your way. Chicken Soup! Feed a fever! One thing you can count on is Children’s Advil for managing kids’ flu symptoms. Children’s Advil is recommended by doctors and clinically proven to provide 8 hours of fever relief, and relief from pain due to colds, flu and sore throats. Best of all, little ones will love the flavour options (berry and grape) and the fact it comes in liquid or chewable form.

But how to avoid getting sick in the first place?  For starters, it’s important to know that the flu is a virus. Contrary to what your grandmother told you, you won’t get the flu from going outside without a jacket. We get the flu by coming into contact with droplets that are spread from an infected person to another through coughing, sneezing, talking or by touching infected surfaces.

If you’re not planning to barricade your family inside for months on end, some simple prevention strategies can help minimize your risk of getting sick this season.

Get the flu shot

Seasonal flu shots are vaccines injected into the body (usually through the arm) that provide protection against the strains of flu contained in the vaccine. No one likes needles, especially kids, but most people will agree the short-term discomfort is much better than the alternative of having one, two, three, four family members go down for days at a time. The Government of Canada website calls the flu shot the best defence against flu and recommends everyone over the age of six months get the annual shot.

Practice good hygiene and proper handwashing

Telling a four-year old to keep her fingers out of her mouth and nose is no easy task but this, along with frequent, effective handwashing can help minimize contact with the virus. Not sure how long to wash? Teach kids to sing “Happy Birthday” twice while they lather and rinse, and to make sure they clean under their nails and between all their fingers.

Get after it, Cinderella

Cleaning the house isn’t anyone’s favourite job especially when you have a million other things to do, but because the flu virus can live for several hours on the surfaces we touch regularly wiping down high-traffic areas like doorknobs, light switches, refrigerator and microwave door handles, faucets, computer keyboards can help prevent the spread of viruses.

Lose the kisses (for now)

During flu season it’s a good idea to start teaching littles that infection can be spread through mouth contact. That means hugs, shaking hands (and washing them after) and blowing kisses might be the way to go this time of year. Similarly, teaching kids to cover their mouths and to cough and sneeze into their sleeve reinforces the learning around how germs are spread.

Look after yourself

When our immune system is compromised by things like stress and insomnia our likelihood of getting sick increases, so it’s especially important to take care of yourself as best you can by getting lots of rest, eating healthy and exercising. (7) And because they both interfere with sleep quality, reducing your intake of alcohol and caffeine will have positive health benefits during flu season and year-round. (8)

If your best efforts fail and your kids do get sick, don’t panic. The flu can be scary but the majority of cases are relatively mild and kids will be back to themselves in no time. Relax mama, you’ve got this.

This post is brought to you by Children’s Advil but the opinions are our own.

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