Fall! The leaves fall, temperatures fall, and we fall prey to colds and influenza. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that flu activity begins escalating in October and peaks in the winter months, diminishing in March. To decrease the influence of influenza, the CDC asks that all children over the age of six months be vaccinated.

While vaccination is indeed effective, many other methods of preparation will ensure a healthier season. For instance, teaching your children the symptoms associated with the flu will help them recognize these symptoms in themselves, and, more importantly, others. Tell your family to be aware of symptoms of sudden fever, chills, headache, body ache, fatigue, sore throat, dry cough, stuffy nose, or runny nose. Although many children realize direct contact is an easy method to spread infection, explain that the flu virus is extremely contagious; airborne particles are all that is necessary to spread symptoms–and they can spread quickly in an Orlando preparatory school environment.

The easiest and most important way for children to avoid the flu is to wash their hands frequently. Challenge them wash their hands specific number of times each day for a prize. Another important step is to teach your children not to touch their faces or place their fingers in their mouths since these are easy methods of contracting germs and viruses.

Teach your children to cough into their elbow if they are wearing a long sleeved shirt, or into their shoulder if their sleeve is not long enough to “catch” the cough. When using a tissue, throw it away after one use.

During the colder months, tell your children frequently that sharing food, beverages, or utensils with friends is not a good idea. Even if their friends are asymptomatic, they could be harboring a dangerous virus.

This list may seem overwhelming to many children. The last item, however, is usually received with much higher acclaim: tell your children to play outside. Being indoors surrounded by airborne particles gives germs and viruses a much better chance at finding a host organism to infect. Outside, the air is cleaner and the exercise and sunlight will assist in keeping young bodies stronger and more likely to win the battle against influenza.

In the event of any flu-like symptoms, be sure to keep your home stocked with remedies, such as soup or broth, reusable water bottles to maintain hydration, tissues, pain medication, and cold-relief medicine.

The faculty and staff at Lake Forrest Prep, an Orlando preparatory school, want to help you and your children stay safe and healthy during the fall and winter months. Do you have a tried-and-true formula for beating the flu? We would love to share your thoughts and suggestions with our followers. For more of our child safety and health hints, continue browsing through our blogs.