Omaha- Health officials are reporting widespread influenza outbreaks in 47 of 50 states, up from just a week ago including Nebraska.
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.
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:
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.
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 A 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.