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3 pieces of advice a Toledo pediatrician wants you to follow this flu season

Since the flu season might be more challenging this year, a local doctor wants to make sure you're prepared.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Paying attention to signs and symptoms of sickness in your child has never been more important. While this flu season may be more challenging, a local pediatrician says there is a way for you to be prepared. 

It starts with continuing to have regular checkups with your child's pediatrician.

"Some are worried about actually coming into the office, 'What if we get exposed to someone else who is sick?' And so I try and explain to them that at Mercy, we try to separate them and do the sick visits in the evening, and the well checks in the morning," Mercy Health pediatrician Dr. Kehinde Obeto said. 

Many area offices have similar strategies to keep patients safe and comfortable. Another thing parents should check before visiting the doctor is checking if their children are due for any vaccinations. 

RELATED: Whitmer: Get flu vaccine to ease hospitals' load in pandemic

Dr. Obeto said babies get a number of vaccinations during their first year. Afterward, keep an eye out for shots when your kids are between 4 and 6 years old as well as between 6 and 11 years old. 

The doctor also encouraged parents to have their children get a flu shot even, starting when they are 6-months-old. 

“Some parents get worried and say, 'Oh, it could make them sick,' and I say it's better for them to get the flu vaccine than to get the flu. If you get a flu vaccine and you come in and have a really high fever or a cough or runny nose, I'm going to be more inclined to think it's COVID," Obeto said. 

Last on the checklist for parents: keep kids at home if they are sick. A cough or a headache can put other kids at risk.

“Some kids I've seen have a fever or a headache for a few hours then they're fine, but get COVID-19 positive! So even if you're kid has a cough or a runny nose or a sore throat, it's best to keep them out of sports," Obeto said. 

RELATED: Doctors urge people to get flu shot to protect against COVID-19