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Flu Season is Now Year-Round — How to keep your kids healthy during the school season

Flu Season is Now Year-Round — How to keep your kids healthy during the school season

As the school season approaches, parents gear up to make sure their kids are prepared with new clothes, pencils, and backpacks. But there’s another preparatory step that sometimes slips by families until it’s too late: getting ready for flu season.

Historically, flu season was an annual event that could be expected to arrive sometime in the fall and be over by the spring. But in recent years, that’s changed. The flu virus is now spreading more throughout the year, which means parents need to be informed and prepared for preventative measures year-round.

Here are some tips for keeping your kids healthy during the school season and all year long.

Start with Vaccines

One of the best ways to protect kids against the flu is by getting a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. Vaccines work by creating antibodies that help fight off the flu virus in the event that your child is exposed to it.

It’s important to get the flu vaccine early on in the season, ideally by the end of October. This gives the vaccine enough time to provide protection before the flu virus starts circulating more widely.

Wash Hands Often

One of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs is by washing hands frequently. Encourage your kids to wash their hands before meals, after using the restroom, and after being in public places. Make sure they lather up with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, which is about as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

If your child doesn’t have access to a sink and soap, keep hand sanitizer on hand for when they need it. Just make sure they use enough to cover their entire hand and rub it in until it’s dry.

Clean and Disinfect Surfaces

Germs can live on surfaces like desks, doorknobs, and light switches for hours, even days. Regularly cleaning and disinfecting these surfaces can help decrease the spread of germs.

Make sure your child’s school is cleaning and disinfecting classrooms, bathrooms, and common areas regularly. You can also send your child to school with disinfectant wipes or spray to use on their personal space, like desks and backpacks.

Additionally, it’s important to teach your child to avoid touching their face, especially their mouth, nose, and eyes. This can help prevent germs from entering their body and causing illness.

Encourage Healthy Habits

In addition to vaccine, hand hygiene, and cleaning, there are other healthy habits parents should encourage during flu season (and beyond). Here are some easy tips to get your child on board with a healthier lifestyle:

– Stay active: Exercise can help boost the immune system and keep kids healthy. Encourage daily physical activity, whether it’s through organized sports, active playtime, or family walks.
– Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can disrupt the immune system and make it easier for germs to enter the body. Make sure your child is getting enough sleep each night, which may vary depending on their age.
– Eat a balanced diet: A healthy diet can also help boost the immune system. Encourage your child to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.
– Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, can help keep the body functioning properly and flush out any toxins or germs. Encourage your child to drink water regularly throughout the day.

Know When to Keep Your Child Home

If your child is feeling sick or shows signs of illness, it’s important to keep them home from school to prevent the spread of germs to other children. Here are some common symptoms that may indicate your child should stay home:

– Fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)
– Vomiting or diarrhea
– Excessive coughing
– Sore throat
– Runny nose with yellow or green discharge

In general, it’s best to keep your child home until their fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.


Flu season is no longer confined to a specific time of year. To keep your kids healthy throughout the school season and all year long, start with preventative measures like vaccines, hand hygiene, and surface cleaning. Encourage healthy habits like exercise, sleep, nutrition, and hydration. And know when to keep your child home if they show signs of illness. By following these tips, you’ll help protect your child from the flu and other illnesses, and you’ll help prevent the spread of germs to others.

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