How the Flu is Spread
The flu spreads very easily, especially in preschool and school-age children. Adults are then easily exposed and can get the disease. The virus is usually transmitted just as symptoms begin or in the first several days of the illness.
The flu is spread from person to person in various ways:
- Direct hand-to-hand contact
- Indirect contact - for example if your child touches an infected surface like a toy or a doorknob and then puts her hand to her own eyes, nose, or mouth.
- By virus droplets being passed through the air for example, from coughing or sneezing.
You can take steps to reduce your families chances of catching the flu. Good hygiene is the best way to prevent the flu from spreading to other family members. If your child has the flu, the following will help prevent its spread:
- Teach your child to cover her mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. If your child is old enough, teach her how to blow her nose properly.
- Use facial tissues for runny noses and to catch sneezes. Throw them away in the trash after each use.
Avoid kissing your child on or around the mouth or face, though she will need plenty of hugs while she is sick.
- Make sure everyone washes their hands before and after coming in close contact with someone with the flu.
- Wash dishes and utensils in hot, soapy water or in the dishwasher.
- Do not let children share pacifiers, cups, utensils, washcloths, or towels. Never share toothbrushes.
- Use disposable paper cups in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Disinfect. Viruses can live for more than 30 minutes on doorknobs, toilet handles, countertops, even on toys. Use a disinfectant or soap and hot water to keep these areas clean.
- Do not smoke around your child. Children who are exposed to tobacco smoke cough and wheeze more and have a harder time getting over the flu.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics