Flu Facts – Three Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Flu
Even though spring has officially sprung, we are seeing an influx of flu cases in our North Carolina pediatric offices. While flu season typically ends in March, this year it is predicted to last into May. No one wants to be sick and panic often strikes when the flu enters the home, office or classroom. Here are three flu facts you probably didn’t know that can help protect yourself, your kids and those you come in contact with on a daily basis.
- Level of Contagion – Flu symptoms typically begin 1-4 days after exposure. It can be transferred to another person up to one day before symptoms start and up to 7 days after becoming sick. Children can pass the flu onto others longer than this timeframe, therefore it is important to keep kids out of school, church, sports and playtime until at least 24 hours after their fever is gone and without the use of fever-reducing medicine. A fever is defined as a temperature of 100.4°F or higher.
- Preventing the Spread – In order to protect the rest of the family from becoming infected with the flu, it is important to understand how it is spread. The flu is a virus that is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets emitted while sneezing or coughing. It can also be spread by touching items that have been contaminated with the flu, although research shows that these surfaces are not significant contributors to the spread of the flu.
- Disinfecting After the Flu – To protect the family and visitors it easy to understand why one would want to disinfect the house. Experts say, however, that sterilizing the home is unnecessary. The reason is that once the virus leaves the body, it dies pretty quickly. Outside the body the flu can live up to 24-48 hours depending on the type of surface. It lives the longest on hard surfaces such as doorknobs and sink handles.
Before going on a cleaning frenzy, stick to disinfecting shared items that the flu lives on the longest such as doorknobs, tables, faucets and remote controls. Even though they are soft surfaces, avoid sharing towels (hand or bath) with someone who has the flu. There is no need to replace a toothbrush after having the flu, since the infected person is now immune to the strain that got them ill. For the best protection, it is important for everyone to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, cover their mouth when coughing and to get the flu vaccine annually.
Your health is important to the team at Rainbow Pediatrics. If you are suspecting your child may have the flu, it is important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. There is a flu treatment available within the first 48 hours after symptoms start.