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Practice illness etiquette this flu season

Oct 31, 2017 | Lifestyles

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The flu can come out of nowhere, hitting hard and bringing high fevers, coughing, muscle aches, headaches, chills and fatigue — lasting anywhere between a few days and a few weeks. It’s no wonder that in a recent survey 86 percent of parents admitted they are annoyed when others send their sick kids to school or daycare. But what constitutes good illness etiquette?

“In the same survey, 30 percent of adults said they have sent their kids to school or daycare when they were sick or contagious, so I think we have a lot to learn,” says Victor Wong, a pharmacy owner with Shoppers Drug Mart. “By following a few simple rules of illness etiquette, we can easily stem the virus’ spread and avoid putting other families at risk.”

Be honest with other parents. Whether it’s a birthday party or family get-together, you’re responsible for disclosing the sick status of your kids to other parents. The flu spreads easily and can have especially serious repercussions in families with young or old members, so be courteous and tell people or just keep your sick kids at home.

Know the cutoff point for fevers. Children should stay home if their temperature passes 100 degrees. “Make sure your kids are fever-free for 24 hours before they go back to school or play dates,” reminds Wong. “The same rule applies to parents going back to work.”

Teach your kids the basics. Using tissues for runny noses, coughing into sleeves and hand-washing are all things kids can easily do to halt the spread of germs. Because the flu is contracted through mucous membranes, reminding kids to keep their fingers away from their mouths, noses and eyes can also be helpful. “Make it fun and you’ll make it a routine,” suggests Wong. “Teaching vampire coughs or giving your kids a 20-second hand-washing countdown are great ways to subtly share good hygiene practices.”

Get vaccinated. “Vaccination is part of a comprehensive flu prevention plan and one of the best things you can do protect your family and others,” advises Wong. “Spending just a few minutes to get vaccinated could save you and your kids weeks of misery, and it might even save someone else’s life.”
— News Canada

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