2007-11-09 / Columnists

Notes From A Medical Practice

From The Offices Of The Queens-Long Island Medical Group
Commentary by Karen Woodburn-Hourie, M.D

Karen Woodbine- Hourie MD Karen Woodbine- Hourie MD With flu season upon us, parents can take various precautionary steps to prevent the flu from affecting their children.

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits may be the key to preventing viral infections like the flu.

According to pediatrician Dr. Karen Woodburn-Hourie M.D., Queens- Long Island Medical Group, "children should wash their hands frequently. Some complications of the flu are pneumonia, dehydration, and sinus infection; something as simple as washing your hands could help prevent these diseases."

According to Dr. Woodburn-Hourie, "If children are around people with a cough and cold, then everyone in the house should be washing their hands regularly."

Washing your hands often will help protect you and your children from germs in general. You should advise your child to avoid touching his or her eyes, nose or mouth during the flu season. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. As a precautionary measure, children should be reminded not to put items in their mouths, such as pencils and pens.

It is important for children to avoid close contact with people who are sick. Another way to prevent contaminating others is to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

Healthy habits can protect everyone from getting germs or spreading germs at home, work, or school. Parents should make sure that their children get plenty of sleep and physical activity, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Influenza, commonly called the flu, is an infection of the respiratory tract caused by the influenza virus. Respiratory symptoms like nasal congestion, cough and sore throat appear, and the flu sufferer often experiences extreme fatigue, headache, chills and muscle aches. Fever between 100 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit is typical in adults, and is often even higher in children. There is no cure for the flu; the general recommendation to treat the flu is to stay hydrated and let it run its course. Prevention is the key to remaining healthy this season, by not contracting the flu.

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus). The vaccine contains three influenza virusesone A (H3N2) virus, one A (H1N1) virus, and one B virus. The viruses in the vaccine change each year, based on international surveillance and scientists' estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year.

Dr Woodburn-Hourie noted that, "Parents should consider getting the flu vaccine for every child over six months of age, especially those with ailments such as lung, asthma and heart disease."

Dr. Woodburn-Hourie practices at the Queens-Long Island Medical Group's Rockaway Medical Office, located at 29-15 Far Rockaway Boulevard in Far Rockaway.

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