• Health Pulse: Tips for helping students deal with cold and flu season

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    Students can get flu shots at any Multnomah County Student Health Center. (Courtesy Multnomah County)

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, the 2017-18 flu season was the first on record to be rated as “severe” across all age groups. To help your family get cold-and-flu season ready, Kristin Case, lead Nurse Practitioner at Multnomah County Student Health Centers, has pulled together her top five tips:

    1. Wash your hands, like a nurse: Washing your hands is something we all take for granted. It is not enough to just use soap and water, you need to scrub. Often people miss washing key areas, such as the back of the hand, between each finger, and around the wrist. Be sure to rub your palms together vigorously for at least 20 seconds to get the full effect. If given the choice between hand washing and using hand sanitizer, go the old-fashioned route and choose to wash.
    2. Get your flu shot: Getting a flu shot is an easy way to take precautions. You can bring your child to any of the 10 Multnomah County Student Health Centers (seven of which are on a Portland Public Schools campus) to get a flu shot. There is never an out-of-pocket cost for medical care at a Student Health Center and half of appointments are reserved for same-day needs. Check the list of health centers and call your closest location to make an appointment. Any student who lives in Multnomah County is welcome at any of the centers. 
    3. Maintain your immune system: The best way to stay healthy is to take care of your body. That means eating ample fresh foods, such as leafy greens, and making sure that your child exercises each day. Breaking a sweat for 30 minutes a day can help your child maintain physical and mental health.
    4. Get enough sleep: The average school-aged child needs between 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night. This is an important time for your child’s body to focus on growing and repairing itself. Try to set a regular bedtime for your child and avoid screen time within an hour of going to sleep.
    5. Prevent the spread of germs: If your child is feeling under the weather, consider having them stay at home to rest. We can all do our part to stop the spread of germs by staying home when we are sick. Your child’s classmates will thank you.

    Kristin Case is the Nurse Practitioner Manager for Multnomah County Student Health Centers. She has over 20 years of experience working to keep families healthy.