How to care for someone with the flu without getting infected

Flu season in North Texas can be intense, so health authorities insist on taking precautions to stop the spread.

The Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services (DCHHS) recommends that people wash their hands frequently, cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their elbow, and stay home if they feel symptoms similar to the COVID-19 flu. Additionally, people over 6 months of age should be vaccinated against this disease.

Preventing the spread of the virus within a household can be a challenge. If a parent has the flu, there is a risk of passing it on to their children; the virus can also be spread between siblings.

Also read: 5 things you should know to protect yourself from the flu and other respiratory infections

Suzette Báez, a pediatrician at Parkland Hospital System, explained that there are precautions that can be taken so that the entire family does not fall victim to the virus.

What can I do to avoid spreading the flu to my family?

In addition to covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, Baez recommends parents use medical masks when in close contact with their children, since people with the flu are contagious for up to five to seven days.

Areas where families gather together, such as kitchens and living rooms, also need to be disinfected. Baez said they can’t forget to sanitize door handles because everyone touches them.

Baez said parents should isolate themselves from their children if possible and seek help from family members caring for their children. People infected with the virus are advised to keep their distance from those who are not sick.

Also read: What is hypothermia: How to avoid the effects of the cold in winter

How can I prevent one of my children from infecting their siblings?

If one of your children comes down with the flu, the child’s room, toys or play area, and diaper changing station should all be disinfected, Bates explains. Because children are more restless, they may not want to wear medical masks.

The child must be isolated from his siblings to avoid contagion. If children share a room, it’s best for them to sleep on the couch in the living room, Baez said. Parents should wash their hands after touching a sick child to avoid spreading the virus to other family members.

Baez says you shouldn’t share food or any drinks when a family member has the flu because you could become infected as well.

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