The flu is something that we’ve all had to deal with at one time or another. The flu can cause a multitude of symptoms—fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle and body aches, headaches, and fatigue, just to name a few. If you’re a parent it’s even more important that your family avoid the flu because the chances of it affecting everyone in the household are extremely high.

Dr. Kim Tran is a flu expert. She received a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in microbiology from Purdue University, and her Doctorate of Pharmacy from the Medical College of Virginia. In addition, Dr. Tran has 11 years of experience working with major pharmacy retailers. “The best way to prevent you and your children from getting the flu is to get the flu shot,” she advises. “We are always worrying about our children and we don’t worry about ourselves, but we need to worry about ourselves as well. You can’t afford to take days off and not take care of your children.”

It’s also important to instill healthy precautions for our children to learn such as washing hands regularly and not sharing various items because germs can spread from person to person. “Other preventative measures include using hand sanitizer, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and wiping down areas that everyone touches on a regular basis,” says Dr. Tran. If you or your child become ill, it’s very important to get rest. Being well rested will help your immune system fight off any germs. Evaluate your families sleep situation – choose the best memory foam mattress, close vents that create drafts, use a humidifier or utilize a fan.

One of the biggest misconceptions that Dr. Tran often hears is that the flu shot will cause people to get sick. “It’s a very common and dangerous misconception. You absolutely cannot get the flu from the flu shot. It doesn’t contain anything that would make you sick,” Dr. Tran emphasizes. “Most people don’t know that it takes two weeks to for the flu shot to kick in. So during those two weeks, you are vulnerable and you can still be exposed to people that have the flu.” Bottom line: if you get sick, it’s completely unrelated from the flu shot that you’ve received. “You want to make sure these misconceptions don’t hold you back from getting the flu shot,” says Dr. Tran. It’s crucial to be educated on the different ways to get rid of a cold because simple implementations can determine the duration of the illness. Some of these cold remedies include adding zinc and getting enough rest. Rest is very important for children to recuperate because they’re constantly exposed to germs at school and daycare-for toddlers, make sure that their toddler bed is comfortable and accommodating.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that everyone over the age of six months get a flu shot. You may be surprised to learn that each year 200,000 people get hospitalized from the flu or flu-related complications. This number includes 20,000 children under the age of five years old. It’s important to practice common sense throughout the year because the flu season can start as early as October and last until late May.

For other nutritional ways you can stay healthy and flu-free, Dr. Tran recommends patients consult their health care provider and/or their local pharmacist. It’s very important to remember that even the healthiest individuals are still at risk of getting the flu. If you have other flu-related questions, the CDC has a wealth of knowledge that addresses frequently asked questions.

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