7 ways to prevent your child from getting the flu this season

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Girl child with surgical masks on stuffed animals and bears
Image Credit: Dreamstime
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We’re on the cusp of flu season again and if you’ve ever had a bout with influenza in your family, you know it isn’t pretty.

Taking the necessary precautions to stop your child from getting the flu is key.

A recent study in Pediatrics was the first to demonstrate that flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from influenza.

RELATED: This patch could change the way we fight the flu

So with that in mind . . .

Get that flu shot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that everyone six months and older should get a flu shot every year by the end of October.

And, sorry kids, but it does have to be a shot; for the second year in a row, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is renewing its recommendation that people not use the nasal spray flu vaccine during the 2017-2018 season.

Did you know you can actually get paid to get a flu shot for yourself or your child?

CVS is offering a $5 off coupon on non-pharmacy purchases with a minimum purchase of $25.

Publix, meanwhile, is offering a free $10 gift card when you get your flu shot.

Remember the kindergarten approach to hygiene

Here’s another no-brainer: Make sure you cover your nose and mouth with your elbows when you cough and sneeze.

And we can all use a little more alcohol-based sanitizer in our lives. What parent doesn’t goes around with this stuff, right?

Don’t play with the toys at the pediatrician’s office

Those toys, books and video game systems at your pediatrician’s are a major source of disease transmission.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends bringing your child’s personal books or toys to occupy them so they don’t have to touch things in the shared play area while waiting to be seen.

Skip the fluffy bears

There is one big no-no when it comes to selecting a toy to bring: Skip the stuffed or plush animals.

Toys should be disposable or washable, according to the AAP — not furry or plush.

All that soft fabric is a great hiding place for germs to live and thrive.

Be skeptical of antibacterial toy claims

You may see toys or baby products this holiday season that say they’re treated with antibacterial agents like Microban.

Not so fast, says the AAP.

“The value of antibacterial agents incorporated within toys is unproven,” the organization notes.

Keep your kids out of fast-food restaurant indoor playgrounds

They’ve been known to harbor antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other opportunistic pathogens, according to a report in The Arizona Republic. One mom has made it her mission to take fast-food restaurants to task over this issue.

Ditto for the bouncy houses

We hopefully have a few more weekends of cool yet clement weather before the real cold sets in. That means kids will probably want to play outside on those golden autumn afternoons.

Bounce houses have become popular fixtures at suburban kids’ birthday parties. But Staph infections can be a problem with these party favorites, according to an investigation by Boston’s FOX25.

Clark Howard opens up about life-threatening health scare

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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