Keeping Your Children Healthy Through the Holidays

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By Karen McBride

The holidays are a busy time for most families and the last thing you want is for your child to become ill. Grocery stores and shopping malls are flooded with people, and this provides more opportunities for germs to spread.

Preventative medicine is the first step in maintaining your good health. Eating healthy meals, with fresh fruits and vegetables is essential. Daily exercise and fresh air are equally important. Washing your hands frequently and using sanitary wipes on shopping carts can help reduce the spread of germs. And never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep! What else can you do? Consult with your doctor about getting the proper vaccinations for illnesses such as the flu and whooping cough.

Is it too late to get a flu shot?

The Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) recommends that “everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exception”. Generally, it is better get the flu vaccine in September or October, before the season begins. However, it can be beneficial throughout the entire flu season as a means to better protect yourself from the illness.

There are different vaccines to choose from. The vaccine can be administered through a shot (ages 6 months and up) or in a nasal spray (for ages 2 to 49 years old). The CDC does not recommend one over the other. It is best to consult a doctor.

Whooping cough, or Pertussis, can be a serious disease. Pertussis can cause uncontrollable, violent coughing, which make it hard to breathe. There are two types of vaccines to fight against this disease. DTaP is for children younger than 7 years old, while older children, teens and adults get Tdap. Consult a physician to determine the need for this and other vaccinations.

Dr. Michele Johnson-Towson, at Pediatric Place of Tampa, is a board-certified pediatrician with 30 years of experience in caring for children ages newborn to 21 years old.

Dr. Johnson-Towson and her staff are dedicated to keeping patients both healthy and educated on changes in children’s health care. Pediatric Place of Tampa offers Urgent Care hours to accommodate sick children after work, school, and/or daycare. Urgent Care hours are available Monday – Friday until 7pm, and Saturday 8:00am until noon.

Pediatric Place of Tampa is located at 1338 W. Fletcher Avenue, Tampa, FL 33612. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 813-264-2288.

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