Ugh, the sniffles. We don’t like the sniffles, sneezing, and coughing. In our house, we don’t get sick a lot. But when we do, we all get sick and it always happens around this time of year when it gets unbelievably cold here in Northern Virginia. And by sick, I mean sick with the winter cold and flu.
And how timely that I got offered these very helpful tips from Dr. Tanya Altmann, a mother, best-selling author and well-known pediatrician. Here, she answers some of my direct questions on how to spot a cold or the flu, how to prevent from getting sick and keeping healthy this winter season .. that I know we all can benefit from!
· A cold or the flu? Patients often come into the office saying they have the flu when really they just have a cold. The symptoms between a cold and flu are different and it’s important to recognize them so you can treat your illness effectively. The flu is much more severe than a cold and it tends to come on more quickly. Cold symptoms are sore throat, runny nose, congestion, sneezing and coughing, while the flu usually produces high fever, chills, headaches, body aches and severe fatigue. If you think you or your child has the flu, call your pediatrician.
· Spotting a cold: During cold & flu season, we receive lots of calls from parents who are trying to decide if their child has come down with an illness. My first question is always how is their child acting? Behavior is often the best indicator of whether a child needs to be seen right away. Fever is also often one of the first signs of the flu and is also when the child is most contagious. That’s why it’s important to have a reliable thermometer at home.
· Get your flu shot: One of my first recommendations for parents heading into cold & flu season is to get their family vaccinated. The flu can cause serious health problems such as pneumonia and is especially dangerous in young children and the elderly. The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the flu vaccine for any child over 6 months. Ask your pediatrician if you have questions.
· Keeping out the flu: One out of 5 Americans suffers from the flu each year. One prevention measure you may not have thought of is maintaining humidity levels in your home. Recent studies have shown that keeping humidity levels between 40 and 60% can reduce the survival of the virus on surfaces and in the air. While humidity levels drop when cold temperatures set in, using an ultrasonic humidifier can help increase the relative humidity, and relieve coughs and congestion at the same time!
· Staying healthy this winter: I swear by some tried and true methods of prevention during cold & flu season. One that tops the list is washing hands. Parents should have their kids wash their hands every time they enter or leave the house and before any meal. Germs are everywhere and children will touch anything. Secondly, make sure everyone is getting enough sleep to help keep their immune system strong.
So I’m so glad I get to share these very helpful tips to you all from Dr. Tanya Altmann!
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*Hip Mama’s Place Disclosure: “This is a sponsored post written by me for Braun. I received a product and the giveaway prize necessary to facilitate my review and giveaway. Prize fulfillment will be provided by Braun. As always, all reviews and opinions expressed are 100% my own”.
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About the Author: Jocelyn Cañasa-Brown is a working mom of two boys and is a recognized blogger and mom influencer in the Washington, DC area. In her spare time, she designs and creates her own handmade jewelry, maintains her jewelry store on Etsy and is an active moms group organizer and leader both online and offline. Hip Mama’s Place was nominated for Parents 2011 Best All-Around Mom Blog and named one of the Highest Rated Blogs and Sites on Nickelodeon ParentsConnect for the Washington, DC area. Follow Jocelyn on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.