Greetings Families! We at Child and Teen Medial Center hope summer was amazing and you are full of warm memories because it’s going to get cold out there. Fall and winter can be a super fun time too but we know that all too often health worries come with the cold weather. We thought to jot down some advice to minimize the chances that you and your little ones stay as healthy as possible. First, most illnesses that are commonly spread in winter are spread by germs we either cough out into the air or spread on our hands. Teach children to cough into their sleeve and either wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. Then think about all the things you touch during the day in your home and try to wipe them down with Clorox wipes (or similar product) regularly. Think about door knobs, faucet handles, cell phones and computer keyboards as well as kitchen counters. Make sure children don’t share cups or water bottles with others as well. Now is as good a time as any to go through their backpacks and make sure that they’re not using the same grubby bottle every day without washing it. Remember, kids are gross. You have to watch them or they’ll use that same bottle all year. If, despite all precautions, they still get sick please keep them home especially if they have a fever. If there’s a fever, a safe rule is to keep them home until they haven’t had a fever for 24 hrs. Also, if vomiting or diarrhea they need to stay home until no vomiting for 24 hrs and until their stools are starting to improve. Make sure they know to wash their hands well after using the bathroom. If you have any questions about when it is safe to let a child go back to school, please don’t hesitate to call our office.
Another very important step to staying healthy over the winter months is….. the FLU SHOT!! I know, I know. Many of you don’t believe in it. I promise you. The flu shot exists and will not cause you to get the flu. Sometimes people may feel a little achy afterwards but that just means that your body is mounting an immune response which is actually exactly what we want it to do. Another common misconception is that the Flu shot prevents colds and stomach viruses. Influenza is a specific virus that causes a high fever, body aches and respiratory symptoms such as cough. In some people it causes very serious illness that can lead to hospitalization or even death. The common cold is not the same as the flu. Colds are caused by different families of virus. They can make you miserable and sometimes cause complications such as ear infections or sinus infections but rarely anything more serious. The same for stomach viruses which are often referred to as “Stomach Flu”. As awful as those are they rarely kill you. Influenza is much different. Elderly people, adults or children with asthma or respiratory problems and people with weak immune systems are at particular risk of serious illness but very often completely healthy people become seriously ill with Influenza. We don’t know why this is but until science can figure it out the safest thing is for everyone to get the vaccine. Another thing I hear is “it doesn’t work for me! I got the flu last year anyways!” Yes. This can happen but generally it’s because the strain of influenza you caught was not the same as the one covered by the vaccine. Every year the strains spreading through communities are different and when creating the vaccine science has to take their “best educated guess” when creating the vaccine. The good new is it usually helps a little anyways. People who get the vaccine, even if they still get Influenza generally don’t get as sick for nearly as long or as severely. For example, instead of having a fever for 2 weeks maybe you are only sick for a couple days.
I’m sure I’ve missed some folks’ questions but that’s why we’re here! Please, never be embarrassed to ask during your visit. The scientists who develop vaccines study for close to ten years to learn just enough to start understanding how the immune system works. If we don’t know the answer to your question, we will help you find it. All of us here at the clinic want parents to be confident about the choices they make for their children’s medical care.
Before I turn you loose to enjoy the corn pits, apple orchards, mazes and pumpkin flavored everything I hope you will come see us at our new Blain location! (11107 Ulysses St NE, Blaine MN 55434) The Fridley clinic is staying right here in Fridley. We plan to each be available in each clinic on different days so hopefully nobody has to choose between their favorite provider and their preferred location.
Jennifer Rousseau, MD
2017 Rising Star Award Recipient-Mpls/St. Paul Magazine
Child & Teen Medical Center (Blaine and Fridley locations)