10 Ways to Keep Your Kid Free of the Flu

Keep Sick Kids Out of School

Keeping your kids out of school when they're sick is less a preventive measure for your children than it is a courtesy to other parents.

"You wouldn't want somebody else coming in and infecting your child," Dr. Jon Abramson, head of the pediatric department of Brenner Children's Hospital of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. , told ABCNews.com earlier this month.

How do you determine when your child is ready to return?

The typical recommendation is to wait 24 hours after any fever has subsided, so that they are healthy without the use of medication. Children can still have some symptoms and not be contagious, and waiting out all symptoms of the flu would take weeks.

Get Physicals at the End of the School Year

Flu viruses typically start to spread in October, and persist into the spring, and no doubt a few of them end up in your doctor's office. So that might not be the best time to bring your child in for their check-up.

"Certainly, coming not in the middle of sick season is not a bad thought," said Pappas.

Pediatricians have long sought ways of keeping the sick patients who visit them from infecting the healthy ones.

Grossman recalls that when she started in pediatrics, many clinics had separate entrances for sick and well children, but over time, she said, they didn't seem to prevent the spread of illnesses in the doctor's office.

She said, however, that she has heard that being the first appointment of the day, when the office is still freshly cleaned, might be a good idea, and said she agreed with that notion.

Unfortunately, it's still unclear that coming in during the summer will definitely keep your child from picking something up at the doctor's office. At the end of summer, however, offices are packed as well.

"Pediatricians' offices are actually busiest in August," said Grossman, attributing that to the number of children who need physicals for school.

So a late spring-early summer appointment might be ideal. By coming in after flu season ends but before the August school-physical rush begins, you may be able to avoid scheduling headaches, and the viruses.

Healthy Living

Exercising, getting enough sleep and eating well may all help your child and you fight off the flu.

The connection between exercise and disease resistance has been tenuous, but perhaps because of other benefits, doctors recommend physical activity, along with sleep and a good diet, to keep your immune system boosted.

Grossman explained that by keeping yourself in better shape you can keep your immune system primed. While you may not be able to keep yourself from getting sick, you may be able to recover quicker.

She notes that by keeping yourself in good shape, various markers of your immune system's abilities are improved.

"We know, in general, that if you are well nourished, if you are well rested," Grossman said, "then in general you're in good shape."


Cold & Flu season is here! Visit the ABCNews.com OnCall+ Cold & Flu Center to get all your questions answered about these nasty viruses.

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