Thursday, November 18, 2010

10 tips to keep your Little Ones Healthy During the Holidays

Holiday family get-togethers can be hazardous for your children’s health and safety.
The same events that make the season fun and festive for kids – visiting family, lighting candles, and receiving toys, for example, can cause mishaps. Fortunately, most such problems are preventable – but only with forethought.

Here is what you should know:

1. Vaccinate infants and young children for influenza.
Family gatherings tend to bring together people of all ages and from different communities and place them in close contact with each other, with much hugging and kissing, all ideal for spreading flu-type viruses.This year the CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated for the flu.

2. Leave children home when they are sick.
If your child is already sick with a respiratory infection, the best gift you can give your friends and family is to keep your child at home. Assume that children with bad coughs and runny noses are contagious to others.  Children with respiratory infections need not be kept indoors. Fresh air is fine.

3. Carry your children’s medications and the telephone numbers of their health care providers.
Illness knows no holiday. Medications may be difficult to obtain on holidays.

4. Scan houses for hazards when you go visiting.
The incidence of accidents and poisonings tends to increase when visiting other homes, especially during the holidays. Mistletoe and holly berries cause intestinal upsets when ingested. Many Christmas tree ornaments are fragile and break easily, and the pieces can be ingested, causing cuts in the mouth. The hooks that suspend tree ornaments have also been responsible for cuts.

5. Appoint a designated “toddler watcher.”
Everyone wants to hold and play with infants and young children. But when “everyone” watches them, often no one is actually in charge, and toddlers may wander off. When you are not overseeing your child yourself, make sure that someone responsible is, and that they personally return the child to you.

6. Never leave small children unattended near candles.
Many festive observances involve candles. Candles fascinate children. Candles cause more than 11,000 fires each year, a disproportionate number of them around holiday time, and 1200 injuries and 150 deaths annually, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Place candles in safe places and where children can’t reach them.

7. Check toys given to your children.
Well-meaning friends and relatives often bring toys that are age-inappropriate with sharp edges or small pieces that can easily break off. Other toys may have been brought from overseas and bypassed safety inspections or may be old and were made before regulations existed.

8. Dress children in warm clothing even for short car rides.
Yes, you are just going from one house to another in a heated car. But cars can break down or end up in snow banks on lonely roads. Children become hypothermic very rapidly.

9. Know your child’s tolerance for socializing.
Some young children love being the center of attention and thrive on being passed from adult to adult. Others do not enjoy it – and become irritable and then irritating to others. For these children, a period alone with you in another room enjoying a quiet activity will make everyone feel better.

10. Discard prepared food left standing at room temperature for 2 hours.
Hosts of holiday meals are often inexperienced at preparing and serving food for large groups, occasionally resulting in food poisoning, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Buffets are especially popular at holiday time, with people coming and going. Young children and the elderly tend to have more severe cases of food poisoning.

Thanks to for the info for this post.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Did you get your flu shot yet?

NEW CDC GUIDELINES:  The Flu Shot is recommended for anyone over the age of 6 months.

This year's vaccine combines 2 seasonal flu strains and the H1N1 strain.

In general, the Influenza vaccine is recommended for:

  • Anyone who is at risk of complications from Influenza or more likely to require medical care
  • Anyone who lives with or cares for people at high risk for Influenza related complications
  • People who provide essential community services.
  • People living in dormitories or under other crowded conditions, to prevent outbreaks
  • People at high risk of Influenza complications who travel to the Southern hemisphere between April and September or to the tropics or in organized tourist groups at any time
  • Anyone who wants to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with Influenza or spreading Influenza to others. 

    Plan to get the Influenza vaccine in October or November if you can. Getting vaccinated in December, or even later, will still be beneficial in most years. You can get the vaccine as soon as it is available, and for as long as illness is occurring. In the northern hemisphere, Influenza illness can occur any time from November through May. Most cases usually occur in January or February. Most people need one dose of Influenza vaccine each year.

    Children younger than 9 years of age getting Influenza vaccine for the first time should get 2 doses. For inactivated vaccine, these doses should be given at least 4 weeks apart. Influenza vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines, including Pneumococcal vaccine.

    Have more Influenza questions?  Ask them in the comment section below or contact your nearest Passport Health location

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Flu Season is HERE!!

    Though its not the scare and panic we remember from last year's H1N1 and the seasonal flu shot shortage, this year's flu season is in full swing and its no joke.  There have been 10 cases reported already in Alberta, Canada and 3 out of those 10 are at the same  long-term care home in southern Alberta.

    Even though Flu Season has begun it is not too late to get vaccinated.  Now is the time to come in for your vaccine, especially if you are in one of the high risk groups. 

    The H1N1 strain that kept everyone on their toes last year will be included in the seasonal shot this year, so you only need to get one shot this year.  Great news huh?

    Have other questions about the Flu?

    Ask me below.

    An example of a question you may have could be:

    Where is a convenient place located that I can get my shot and be out the door asap?

    My answer: Passport Health.  We have 170 offices throughout the US.  We are friendly and getting the shot is as easy as signing a form.  If you are not a fan of shots then ask about FluMist.  Same protection as the shot, but it gets squirted up your nose instead! (ok so a shot in the arm or a squirt up the nose- neither sound pleasant, but it sure beats 3 weeks in bed with fever and chills and entire body aches!)  Its over so quickly you wont even have time to cry!

    Get your flu shot... you know its the right thing to do.