CLEVELAND – The holidays are almost here and many of us will be spending time with family, which could mean exposure to germs and viruses.
To help keep kids from getting sick, Adam Keating, MD, pediatrician with Cleveland Clinic Children’s said now is a good time to make sure children are up-to-date on routine vaccines.
“Our standard childhood immunizations do a good job of protecting kids against diseases but particularly for our youngest ones, it’s worth mentioning to family members that you’re visiting to see if they are up-to-date on things like their whooping cough or pertussis vaccine,” said Dr. Keating.
Health experts predict a more significant flu season this year. Dr. Keating said younger kids are at the highest risk.
Children six months of age and older should get both the flu and COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC recommends the bivalent COVID-19 booster for children ages five and up.
Dr. Keating said infection prevention is about the basics: cover your cough, distance from family members with illness and practice good hand hygiene.
“Making sure that we are using soap and water to wash hands or hand sanitizer that’s available, particularly before eating or any opportunity before you are touching your face,” he noted. “Encouraging kids and adults to avoid touching their face in specifically what we call the T-zone across the eyes and down the nose and the mouth where we can get our respiratory illnesses.”
If your child gets sick during the holidays, he suggests additional medical care if they develop a fever or have difficulty breathing.
And if kids or family members are at an elevated risk of illness, consider masking to avoid transmission.