Albuquerque, NM — The American Red Cross in New Mexico urges New Mexicans to get a flue shot as health officials are reporting widespread influenza outbreaks in 47 of 50 states, up from just a week ago. One age group hit particularly hard is children and the American Red Cross has some steps parents can teach their kids to help them avoid getting sick.
Some children have gotten so sick they have had to be hospitalized. According to the Centers for Disease Control, while some of the children hospitalized had underlying medical conditions such as asthma, more than 40 percent of hospitalized children had no other medical conditions.
WASHING HANDS Kids have a way of picking up colds and other illnesses. Parents should teach children proper hand washing techniques and how to correctly cover coughs or sneezes. Washing hands properly is an important step to avoid getting the flu. Wash hands with soap and warm water. When using soap and water:
If using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
THE SCRUB CLUB® The American Red Cross and NSF International have collaborated to help parents and teachers reinforce kids' hand-washing habits. The Scrub Club® is an interactive Web site that offers free materials to raise awareness about the benefits of hand washing to fight germs and prevent illness. The website features cartoon Webisodes featuring seven soaper-heroes and comes complete with educational materials, music and games. Visit ScrubClub.org for more information.
SNEEZING AND COUGHING If a child has to cough or sneeze, parents should teach them to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue and wash their hands afterwards. If they don’t have a tissue, they should be taught to cough or sneeze into their elbow or upper arm, not their hands.
Kids should also be taught to avoid sharing such things as utensils, cups and bottles, and to keep their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth.
SAFETY STEPS The most important thing parents can do is get children six months of age or older a flu vaccine as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Children’s caregivers should also get vaccinated. Other steps parents can take include:
IF THE CHILD BECOMES ILL If a child gets sick, parents should consult their doctor. They should also make sure their child gets plenty of rest and fluids. If the child is breathing fast or having trouble breathing, has bluish or gray skin color, refuses to drink, is vomiting, is irritable or has trouble staying awake, parents should get the child medical help right away. The child should stay home from school or day care until at least 24 hours after their fever is gone.
MORE FLU FACTS Information on what to do if someone has the flu is available as part of the free Red Cross First Aid mobile app available for iPhone and Android devices. You can find more information about how to help keep you and your loved ones protected by visiting redcross.org/FluTips.
Flu prevention tips are now on the Red Cross smart phone app for Android and iPhone platforms.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.
The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the American people to fulfill our mission. To help the Red Cross continue to save lives, contributions may be made to the American Red Cross Local Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-560-2302. Contributions to the Local Disaster Relief Fund may also be sent to the American Red Cross in New Mexico by mail: American Red Cross in New Mexico, 7445 Pan American West Fwy. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109 or made online at www.redcrossnewmexico.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Media Contact: Beverly L. Allen, Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, (505) 220 3097, January 11, 2013