General Guidelines for Parents
1. Get Vaccinated
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. Check with your doctor or local Health Department for more information about flu vaccine.
2. Practice Good Health Habits
- Avoid close contact - Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Stay home when you are sick - If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Cover your mouth and nose - Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Clean your hands - Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth - Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.
- Stop the Spread of Germs - Healthy habits can protect everyone from getting germs or spreading germs at home, work or school.
3. Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects.
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu can help slow the spread of influenza.
4. Keep your child home from school.
If your child is not feeling well, your physician is the best person to consult about whether he or she can go to school. Common sense, concern for your child's well-being, and the possibility of infecting classmates should all contribute to the decision about whether your child should stay home. Generally, keep your child home if:
- he or she has a fever
- he or she is not well enough to participate in class
- you think he or she may be contagious to other children
If your child is feeling better, but still has minor symptoms such as runny nose or slight headache, they can return to school as long as none of the three symptoms above are present. Make sure the school and your child have a phone number where you can be reached if more serious symptoms develop.
2. Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics)