Flu season is here with a vengeance.
The main victims? Children, especially those under the age of 9.
Schools and daycares are trying to make sure their spaces are not breeding grounds for spreading the virus.
“We do sanitize the toys on a schedule and, of course, if we see a child put a toy in their mouth we take that one away right away and sanitize it before it goes back into distribution,” said Marilyn McCall, My School Child Care director.
My School Child Care in Gainesville cleans all eating surfaces after meals and uses a strong cleaning solution throughout the center at night.
Schools are also teaching kids how to wash their hands properly.
Even with preventative measures, it’s still possible for your child to get sick. If symptoms arise, visit a local pediatrician. They’ll take a quick nasal swab and within 15 minutes you can tell if your child is positive or negative with the flu this season.
“Often times with flu, people will say ‘Oh, it just hit me all at one time’ and that’s sometimes a characteristic of the flu,” said Dr. Diane Howell, a UF Health Pediatrician. “Higher fevers are characteristic of the flu certainly and flu is a little more often than the typical cold virus associated with things like muscle aches and body aches.”
As schools do what they can, parents are encouraged to take the lead at home.
“Parent education and information is really important,” McCall said. “The Department of Children and Families provides us with an influence of informational brochure every year that we’re required to have the parents read and sign.”
While hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes can help, parents can also have their children get a flu vaccine, which provides protection through the development of antibodies.