Flu Information

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December 28, 2009

Tips for Planning Ahead this Flu Season

A frequently asked question about flu is, “What’s the best way to plan ahead for flu season?” I took the opportunity to ask Dr. Rosenberg this very question and he provided me with some great information…which I am happy to share with you!

Dr. Rosenberg offered three simple steps for planning ahead for flu season – Get Vaccinated, Practice Good Hygiene, and Stay Home When Sick.

Here’s a bit more info on each of those steps:

Get Vaccinated

child-vaccinationThe first and most important thing you can do for yourself and your family is to get vaccinated for seasonal flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting vaccinated is the single best way to help prevent seasonal flu. Children are a main source for spreading flu so make sure you get them vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available, usually in September.

Practice Good Hygiene

Dr. Rosenberg explained the flu can spread through droplets that come from the nose and mouth, primarily through sneezing and coughing.

To avoid spreading germs he suggests being aware of the surfaces you touch and washing your hands frequently. Teach your kids to cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze or cough and remember to disinfect commonly used work surfaces after touching them.

If You’re Sick, Stay Home!

This should be common sense, but it’s really one of the best ways to prevent spreading illness to others.

If you or your children are sick, take the time to recover at home. It’s better to stay home and recuperate than to go back to school or the office while still feeling under the weather and risk spreading your germs to others. Everyone will thank you for staying home!

Are their things that your office or child’s school are doing to decrease the risk of getting sick?

I have a friend whose work offered the flu vaccination at a discounted rate to employees during the work day. She said her work also set up antibacterial gel pumps around to help prevent the spread of germs on people’s hands.

For up-to-date, accurate information on seasonal flu and H1N1 (“swine flu”), feel free to browse the following sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

US Department of Health and Human Services


December 16, 2009

Flu Basics: Remember the Three “F’s” When Treating Your Child’s Flu – Foods, Fluids, Fever

sick child with feverHaving the flu isn’t fun for anyone-but it can be especially rough on our kids. I asked Dr. Rosenberg what parents should know when treating a child with flu at home. He gave me some simple, easy to remember advice: the three “F’s” – Foods, Fluids, and Fever.


Although children with the flu often can’t stomach regular meals or just may not be hungry, they still need nourishment to keep their bodies strong to fight the illness. Try giving your child something that is light and can be easily digested. Options to try include rice, crackers, toast, soup, bananas or gelatin.


A fever can cause children to lose fluids more quickly than usual, so it’s important to keep them well-hydrated while they are sick. Remember children may not always tell you when they are thirsty, so encourage them to drink throughout the day. Try sticking to light colored drinks like water, ginger ale, clear soda, or a sports drink.


Over-the-counter medications, such as Children’s Tylenol, can help to ease the symptoms of the flu. Just remember to read and follow the label carefully to make sure you give the proper amount of medication to your children. I hope you find these tips from Dr. Rosenberg useful!

Feel free to leave your comments, suggestions or insights in the comments below.

For additional information and tips on treating a child with flu at home, you can also check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Web site at www.cdc.gov.

Here’s to a speedy recovery!

December 11, 2009

I’m in New York City…

I’m currently in NYC for a busy and exciting two days participating in television interviews with Dr. Mark Rosenberg, associate professor in Clinical Pediatrics at Northwestern University, and offering helpful information on how to combat the flu this season.

Teaming up with Dr. Rosenberg has made me even more excited about this partnership and I can’t wait to share with you all the tips and information you’ll need this cold and flu season.

How to Tell the Difference…

Let’s start with one question that I know is on many minds…
how to tell the difference between the common cold and the flu.

Dr. Rosenberg provided great insight, explaining that cold and flu symptoms are often very similar, because they both affect your upper respiratory tract — meaning your sinuses, nose and throat.

Cold Flu
  • Runny nose/watery eyes
  • Stuffy nose/congestion
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Body aches and chills
  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Fever/chills
  • Cough/stuffy nose

Remember, the flu can be caught at any point during the year, but it’s more common during the winter months.

Tips to Safeguard Your Family

Here are some tips on ways to help safeguard your family from the flu:

  • Stay hydrated: juices, herbal teas and canned soup are great to have on hand to keep you hydrated while still providing essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Stock up on Tissues: using tissues helps prevent the spreading of airborne germs.
  • Keep your immune system in check: eat balanced meals, incorporate daily exercise and get plenty of sleep.
  • Disinfect: the most crucial way to prevent the spread of germs is to wash your hands or use hand sanitizers as often as possible; keep TV remote in a plastic baggie and change often; wipe phone receivers and computer keyboards down with alcohol on a cotton ball or other sanitizer after each person’s use.

As we all know, it can be a challenge to get your kids excited about washing their hands, so I asked Dr. Rosenberg about it. He suggested practicing the following will help keep this from being a chore:


  • Use playful soap, such as animal and fruit shapes or bright colors.
  • Sing while you clean. Tell them to wash their hands for as long as it takes them to sing their ABCs or “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”.
  • Put cartoon stickers on soap dispensers so the characters can help “fight germs” with your kids.

Always make sure your kids use liquid or a clean bar of soap, scrub for 15-20 seconds, use warm, running water to rinse and dry their hands with a clean towel.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 BarbaraLee December 11, 2009 at 11:46 am

I also read, a doctors info, that drinking hot fluids helps kill the bactria in your throat were it likes to grow. It can’t live in the stomack and drinking hot liquids breaks it down into your stomack.
So I have the family heat up their juices before they drink it. Mental note: don’t use the mircowave. We all know that it kills the good nutrients. It might sound strange but drinking a hot cup of oj is comforting.
When my family got sick w/the flu 2 mths ago I proved that fact. I drank coffee for awhile and didn’t get sick. They rest of the clan had temps of 101 and up.
This info came to me w/in that week. So everyone was drinking hot liquids and soaking in apple cidar vinager baths.
Works great.


2 AnaFabijanec December 11, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Usefull info here. Many people find these symptoms the most commonf for swine flu:
* Fever
* Cough
* Sore throat
* Runny/stuffy nose
* Body aches
* Headaches
* Chills and fatigue
* Diarrhoea and vomiting

But this gives another, deeper insight, great article.


3 Passion Parent December 14, 2009 at 3:01 am

We have been diligent in keeping our immune systems strong. With everything I have read about the risks involved with the vaccine, I would not have anyone in my family take it!

We also use colloidal silver as a natural antibiotic. We use probiotics to keep the flora in our gut healthy. Fluids and wash hands!

Dr. Mercola has some great info about the risks with the vaccines! (www.mercola.com)


4 Candy December 15, 2009 at 2:56 pm

I’ve been trying to campaign to get concerned parents to pay attention to what schools are using to disinfect for H1N1. Many don’t realize that cleaning supplies are often more hazardous than the H1N1virus itself. Here are some resources to help parents determine what their schools are using, and what they should be using: H1N1 in Schools and Environmental Working Group Report on Schools


5 Panasonic sd yd250 December 18, 2009 at 4:58 pm

I’ve always thought that Paracetamol was really the best way to lower down my son’s fever. And often than not, it does work.

One time though, my son, who had a very high fever in the middle of the night refused taking the medicine. And no matter what we did, we just could not get him to take it (any advice by the way on how to make a toddler take medicine he doesn’t want will be highly appreciated).

So what we did was just give him a lukewarm bath (which he didn’t like either but was much easier to do) and then his fever didn’t get any worse at all.

What striked me as odd was that with a bath, he wakes up with a very low fever the following morning. However, when he takes Paracetamol, he usually gets better for a few hours and then his fever goes up again.

I read somewhere that you should try not to lower down a fever too much as that is your body’s defense mechanism.

Any one else has the same experience?


6 Brandi December 23, 2009 at 11:25 am

I like treating my children as naturally as possible.

Boiron Oscillococcinum, a homeopathic remedy for flu, seems to work really well for our family.

Any time my kids are sick we load up on grapefruit seed extract, too.

I have recently discovered my favorite cold remedy, Umcka Cold Care Soothing Hot Drink. The results, in my opinion, are amazing!!

For coughs I like to use Old Indian Wild Cherry Bark Syrup. For relief of congestion, I mix Eucalyptus essential oil drops into some coconut oil and rub onto my kids’ chests at night. Eucalyptus oil can also be dropped into boiling water and used to purify the air.

Soaking in a lavender (essential oil mixed with some bath wash)bath can be relaxing and help reduce fever. My kids always ask for lavender baths when they are sick.

Well, these are just a few of the things I do when my children are sick. Hoping everyone is well for Christmas!


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