Protect Your Young Children from the Flu | Family Health

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Protect Your Young Children from the Flu

Each year, thousands of kids go to the hospital because of the flu virus.1 The flu is a very contagious illness caused by influenza virus A or B. The flu virus is constantly changing. Flu season typically takes place from October through May, with peaks in December, January, and February.

Children under five, and especially those under the age of two, are at a high risk for serious flu complications.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, fever, chills, lack of energy or belly pain. If your child becomes sick, you may wonder if it is a common cold or the flu. This chart can help you.



As a parent or caregiver, there are certain things you can do to help keep your whole family healthy and avoid the flu:

  • Make sure that your family gets their flu shots. Getting the flu shot may not prevent flu 100% of the time, but it is still the SINGLE MOST important thing you can do to prevent the flu. It is recommended that all kids older than six months get a flu shot.
  • Fight the spread of germs by cleaning surfaces and objects that may have germs, including bathroom surfaces, kitchen counters and kids’ toys.
  • Make sure the whole family washes their hands often with soap and warm water, cover their mouths/noses when coughing or sneezing and avoid touching their eyes and mouth.
  • If a member of your family the flu, keep him or her in a separate room and keep home from school or daycare until they feel better.

Educate your kids about the flu. Give them easy ways to stay healthy. You can tell them:

  • Germs are everywhere and can make you sick. They are so small that you can’t see them.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you sneeze or cough so you don’t pass germs to others.
  • Wash your hands right after you sneeze, cough, play outside, go to the bathroom, shake hands with people or touch animals, and before you eat or touch food. Make sure you wash hands with soap and warm water. If those aren’t available, use hand wipes or gels.
  • Always let an adult know if you feel sick.


Be sure to observe the child in your care for flu symptoms, especially during flu season. Call the doctor if your child begins to show any symptoms of the flu, do not hesitate to contact his or her doctor.


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