You hear it every year: Prepare for the flu season. Have you thought of all the ways to be prepared? Besides the usual methods of preventing flu and its spread such as proper hand-washing and getting the flu shot, there are other ways to make sure you are ready for the flu season.
Do you have a child care plan? It's a good idea to have a plan for who will take care of your child if you get sick with the flu. You should also plan for what will happen if your child gets sick and cannot go to school or day care. If your usual caregiver – whether it's yourself, another family member, a neighbour, a child care facility, or a school – is not able to take care of your child for whatever reason, you need to have a back-up child carer in place. In the plan, include who to call first, second, and third, and who will be responsible for bringing your child to see the doctor.
Prepare an "important contacts" sheet. The contact information of important people and associations should be listed somewhere that is convenient for you and others in your household to see. You may also want to consider carrying a copy with you in your wallet. Important contacts include:
- doctor's name and telephone number
- name and telephone number of local health authority
- pharmacist's name and number
- your emergency contact person's name and number (home, work, and cell)
- caregiver's name and number (home, work, and cell) – your caregiver may be different from your emergency contact
- your child's school name and number
- your child's babysitter's (or child care facility's) name and number
Stock up on supplies before you get sick. That way, you won't have to leave the house – you can stay at home to rest and recover. Here's a list of things to pick up the next time you're at the pharmacy or grocery store:
- Pain and fever relievers, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or acetylsalicylic acid (ASA). Avoid giving ASA to children 18 years and under as this can put them at risk of developing Reye's syndrome, which can affect the liver and nervous system. Ask your pharmacist which is the best product and dose for you.
- Cough medication, including dextromethorphan or codeine. Sometimes these medications are combined into one product. However, these ingredients should not be used for certain age groups, especially for young children. Ask your pharmacist which is the best product for you.
- Medications for other flu symptoms, such as sore throat and runny nose. Ask your pharmacist to help with a product selection.
- Your prescription medications
- Hot water bottle or heating pad
- Digital thermometer
- Toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, diapers and wipes
- Hand soap – plain soap is fine, although antibacterial soaps are available
- Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Household cleaning supplies
- Laundry detergent
- Baby formula or food
- Canned soups
- Frozen or canned food (juice, soups, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish)
- Bottled water
- Breakfast cereals
- Easy-to-prepare food, such as spaghetti and tomato sauce
- Pet food
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