Tips for helping your kids avoid the flu

Edith Lovett Pulaski County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences

Our children will be returning to school this week, and you want to make sure they are in the habit of washing their hands often. This is one way young children can prevent the spreading of the flu in our schools. There are other things you can do as a parent to help keep them healthy, but the washing of the hands is one way the child can help.

While the single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated, good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often with soap and water can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illness like the flu.

Flu is more than an inconvenience, though. Many people -- young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people 65 years and older -- are at risk for serious complications from the flu. Sometimes they are even admitted to the hospital. But the flu is preventable. The following suggestions can help you stay healthy and keep others from getting sick.

Get a flu shot. If you haven't received your flu shot yet, make that a goal for Monday. Everyone ages 6 months and older should get one each year and that means you. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza, and its potentially serious complications. While there are many different flu viruses, flu vaccines protect against the 3 or 4 viruses that research suggests will be most common. Flu vaccination has been shown to significantly reduce a child's risk of dying from influenza. Also there are data to suggest that even if someone gets sick after vaccination, their illness may be milder.

People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years of age and older. Infants younger than 6 months of age are at high risk of serious flu illness but are too young to be vaccinated. Studies have shown that flu vaccination of the mother during pregnancy can protect the baby after birth from flu infection for several months. Additionally people who live with or care for infants should be vaccinated.

Wash your hands often with soap and water to reduce the spread of germs. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available use an alcohol based hand rub. Make it a habit to wash your hands often, not just before you eat or cook. When you are out shopping you never know when someone before you may have had the flu and left germs on the shopping cart. So take the time to wipe off the handles of the carts. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, and especially when someone is ill. Be sure to get plenty of sleep, be physical active, manager your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

Avoid contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, or your children are sick, keep them at home. Stay home from work or school. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, like respiratory syncytial virus, whooping cough and severe acute respiratory syndromes are spread by cough, sneezing and unclean hands. Clean and disinfect all surfaces that may carry germs. You can't be too clean or clean too much during the flu season.

Flu like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people especially children may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may also be infected with flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender, identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status or physical or mental disability.

How long has it been since you have make a meat patty for lunch or dinner? Salmon and other fish products are so good for you, so include them in your diet weekly.

Salmon Patties

1 can of Salmon, drained

1 cup of crushed crackers

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Ā½ cup of milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon cooking oil

In a medium size bowl use a fork to flake the salmon until very fine. Crumble the crackers into crumbs. Add the cracker crumbs, eggs, milk, salt and pepper to the salmon. Mix thoroughly. Shape into 9 patties. Heat the oil in a skillet. Over medium heat, carefully brown both the sides until the patty is thoroughly cooked. One patty will have 120 calories per servings, and will also provide 40% of your daily requirement for Vitamin D. (You can use this recipe for crab, mackerel, tuna, or other canned meat products.)

Events at the Extension Office

The Gourmet Gals Extension Homemakers will meet on Tuesday, January 7 at 5:30 at the Extension Office.

On Friday, January 10, join us at the Extension Office at 1:0 o'clock as we learn about Green Products. You will learn how to make your own personal home products, and also personal products like hand lotions, lip balm, etc. This is a free class to homemakers and $5 to others.

Need to know more information about new tax laws for filing for income tax for 2019? A free class will be held at the Extension Office on Thursday, January 16, starting at 5:30. Hispanic speaking people are also urged and invited to come as an interpreter will be available to help them with the new laws. Please call the office to register at 679-6361. A light dinner will be provided.

The Calendar Food Class will meet on Tuesday, January 21 at 11:30 at the Extension Office. We will be sampling the "Citrus Chicken Stir Fry." The New Food and Nutrition Calendars for 2020 are available at the Extension Office if you would like to pick one up. Other free items you can pick up are "Seasoned Soup It Up" magazine, and the "Growing Your Own Garden Calendar."

Recommended for you