Flu season can cause anxiety in kids

    Pediatricians’ offices are filled with worried parents and sick children, and schools in the regions report increased student absences. Child psychologists say all this talk about flu season, swine flu and vaccination can confuse and worry children.

    Pediatricians’ offices are filled with worried parents and sick children, and schools in the regions report increased student absences. Child psychologists say all this talk about flu season, swine flu and vaccination can confuse and worry children.
    (Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kendrick/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

    Listen to the radio reports:

    [audio:091102mskidsflu1.mp3] [audio:091102mskidsflu2.mp3]

    10 year old Noah Gansallo goes to Germantown friends school. He says the flu is a hot topic among his class mates:

    Noah: we’re always saying are you going to get the vaccine, and the shot has the virus in it neutralized blahblahblah, and I don’t really want the vaccine

    Mary Rourke is a psychologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – she says adults who are nervous about the flu often make their kids nervous.

    Rourke:
    when children sense adults in their world being worried and concerned – and those adults can be parents or teachers or newscasters on the television set, then their own level of anxiety and worry goes up, too.

    Philadelphia kindergartner Fina Reilly has learned a few things about staying healthy during flu season:

    Fina: My mom has been sending me and my sister hand sanitizer so every time at lunch we have been washing our hands.

    Mary Rourke says in addition to focusing on healthy habits, parents can calm their children’s fears with some facts about flu season:

    Rourke: Hearing that this is a virus like other viruses they might have had in the past, hearing that people get better after a five to seven days and then they go back to school or back to their regular activities, these things will be reassuring to children.

    Rourke says parents should also reassure kids that the vast majority of children will recover quickly even if they get the flu.

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