Red Cross Offers Flu Outbreak Health Tips For Kids
Children are especially vulnerable.
The Centers for Disease Control has reported that 47 states in the nation now have widespread flu outbreaks, including Massachusetts.
This week, Boston Mayor Menino declared a health emercency for Boston after 700 cases were reported in that city.
North Andover still doesn't have many reported cases of the flu, but numbers don't include those who have not seen a doctor and the town is bracing for a possible spike in flu cases.
Flu cases in children have particularly seen a spike nationwide, according to the American Red Cross, which offers the following tips for protecting kinds from the flu:
Parents should teach children proper hand washing techniques and how to correctly cover coughs or sneezes. Wash hands with soap and warm water.
When using soap and water:
- Wash for at least 20 seconds, covering the entire hand including fingernails and under jewelry.
- Younger children can be taught to sing a short song like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," or the "Happy Birthday" song a few times, which will ensure they wash for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse and dry thoroughly with a disposable towel.
- Use the towel to turn off the faucet.
If using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
- Rub thoroughly over the entire hand, including nail areas and between the fingers.
- Continue to rub until the product dries.
The American Red Cross strongly urges getting children six months of age or older a flu vaccine as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Children’s caregivers should also get vaccinated. Other steps parents can take include keeping surfaces disinfected and keeping a sick person in a separate room in the household if possible.
If a child gets sick, parents should consult their doctor. They should also make sure their child gets plenty of rest and fluids. If the child is breathing fast or having trouble breathing, has bluish or gray skin color, refuses to drink, is vomiting, is irritable or has trouble staying awake, parents should get the child medical help right away.
The North Andover Health Department is out of flu vaccines, but you can ask your doctor for one, and here are some places in North Andover that offer the vaccine: