Flu season is hitting hard and fast in 2013. No matter where you live in Mercer County, your risk for catching the flu increases based on the number of people you come into contact with every day. Those with the highest risk of getting the sickness are the elderly population, pregnant woman and young children.

In an article in the Times of Trenton, Dr. Joel Maslow, head of the division of infectious diseases at Morristown Memorial Hospital, said this year’s strain of flu, H3N2, is a new one and not many people have the built up immunity to it.

In the same article, Capital Health epidemiologist, Dr. Marc Whitman said this strain is spreading through the high-risk groups quickly and is getting more people sick.

Children’s Futures wants to keep you and your children as safe and healthy as possible, so here are a few tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to avoid this year’s flu bug.

– Get the flu shot
The flu vaccine is the most important and most obvious step. Starting at the age of six-months your child should be getting a flu shot as soon as flu season hits. Don’t think that the flu shot will cost too much money. Lots of clinics give the vaccine for free. And, drug stores offer them for a low price.

– Avoid people with the flu
This may sound like another obvious thing, but it’s a thing that lots of people don’t do. This means if your child has the flu, you shouldn’t send him or her to school. This will increase the likelihood of classmates getting sick and continue the spread of the virus. And, when the fever goes down, spend one more day at home because you still might have the germ.

– Cover your mouth
Don’t just cover your mouth with your hand. Cover it with a tissue or paper towel whenever you sneeze or cough and immediately throw the tissue away.

– Wash your hands
Wash your hands often! If you sneeze or cough directly into your hand, wash your hands in hot water with soap. If you can’t get to a sink, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Another great source of information is available online at:

Please share your family’s flu experiences with us and any ideas that have worked for you in minimizing the impact of the current flu outbreak.

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