There’s a lot that you and your family can do to stay healthy.
• Wash your hands. “The power is really with us,” says Lichtveld. “Hand washing reduces 95 percent of transmissions.” Teach your kids to sing the ABCs while they lather and rinse, for example. “Then you have done hand washing well,” she says.
• Sleep, exercise and eat well. All of these can make a big difference in the body’s immune system. Sears says that when he’s not feeling well, he bumps up his fruit and vegetable consumption. “Now’s the time to start that, before the flu season hits,” he says.
• As flu begins to circulate, try to avoid crowds and keep your family’s exposure to a minimum.
Infectious disease specialist Pia Pannaraj, M.D., of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles reminds parents to take steps to protect themselves if their child comes down with the flu. “I think it’s hard to stay out of their line of cough,” she says. But holding little ones with their head on your shoulder or against your chest will keep your face out of the way.
More about The Flu and You:
• National Centers for Disease Control Follow the Web site for this health monitoring and research organization for information on the spread of flu, prevention, and vaccine guidelines.
• Flu.gov This U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Web site bills itself as a one-stop source of information on H1N1, avian and pandemic flu. Here you’ll find prevention tips, including for pregnant women, flu monitoring information state by state and more.
• Flu Busters Find flu vaccination clinics in your area.