Micah Ryan, M.D. Boys Town Pediatrics
"We're going to talk about washing our hands."
"Who washes their hands?"
"Good, everyone? Good!"
"Do you know why we wash our hands?"
"To get the germs off!"
Cold and flu season, it's almost year round, but it's really right after school starts and everyone goes back to school and starts spreading germs to one another.
Viruses are spread a multitude of different ways. When you cough you go and put a lot of germs in the air. It's on door handles, it's on any surface, it's everywhere in our environment.
"What happens when you cover your cough?"
"You put it all on your hands, right?"
"Now you have germs on your hands."
"So when you cough, everyone go like this, cough into your elbow."
A difference between a virus and a bacterial infection is really how we get to treat it. If it's a bacteria, we get to treat it with an antibiotic. Viruses, on the other hand, we can't do a whole lot about because antibiotics don't work for most.
"Now what we're going to do is rub this all over your hands."
"We're going to pretend this is all germs and yuckies."
"Look at all those germs!"
"Do you see them? They're all orange."
The best way to prevent a virus is to always remember that you're around viruses, so you wash your hands. You wash your hands frequently, especially before you eat your food.
If you're blowing your nose, you should always be thinking about using hand sanitizer or washing your hands with water and soap.
We do the smell test a lot. Did you wash your hands? Yes? Can I smell them?
They'll come to you and you can smell the soap. If we can't smell the soap then they'll walk back there, sometimes with their head hung, but they'll go back and get it done for us.
The biggest thing you can do to protect your family is good hand washing, good cough hygiene, and I would highly recommend a flu shot.
Once again, influenza does put kids in the hospital every year, it's not uncommon. So everyone in the family should be getting a flu shot and the time is now.
Preventing viruses requires stopping the spread of germs. Dr. Micah Ryan, pediatrician with Boys Town Pediatrics, offers tips on how you and your children can help prevent viruses during the cold and flu season.