Cold and Flu Prevention for Children

The pandemic has made us all more aware of the importance of hand-washing and staying safe from exposure to illness. However, cold and flu season is still a concern for many families. Here are some precautions you can take to lower the odds of your child getting a cold or the flu this season.

  • Help your child wash their hands before and after every meal, after using the toilet, and after playing outside. Ensure they’re also wearing a mask and sanitizing their hands when necessary, such as while running errands with you, or on the playground.
  • Sanitize high-touch surfaces in your home, such as doorknobs, light switches, and countertops.
  • Teach your child to cough or sneeze into the crook of their elbow instead of their hands.
  • Ensure your child doesn’t share things with other children that come into contact with mouths or faces, such as cups, straws, or scarves.
  • Monitor your child for signs of cold and flu, and encourage them to be honest with you about how they’re feeling.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the yearly flu vaccine, which protects against viruses that research suggests will be common that year.
  • Strengthen your child’s immunity with healthy foods and plenty of sleep.
  • Exercise helps boost the immune system as well, so encourage your child to stay active and play outdoors as often as possible.

When should your child see the doctor about a cold or flu? Nemours KidsHealth recommends taking your child to their doctor if they:

  • seem to be getting worse
  • have trouble breathing
  • have a high fever
  • have a bad headache
  • have a sore throat
  • seem confused
  • have severe belly pain
  • have pain or pressure in the chest
  • have trouble staying awake
  • look bluish in the lips or face