Preparing for Flu Season

October through May — the time of year when sickness plagues the air and schoolyards run rampant with germs and bacteria — is referred to as flu season. With flu activity reaching its peak in January and February, parents should be prepared if their child catches a bug.

The 2013-2014 winter season has delivered wind storms, drought and a polar vortex cold wave within the country, causing many adults and children to become ill as a result of fluctuating temperatures.

In the United States alone, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has documented over 700 cases of influenza viruses since October 1st, including H1N1, H3N2 and B Viruses. This data does not include the thousands of others who fell sick with flu symptoms in the past four months.

What is a Child Medical Consent?

A Medical Consent is a document every parent should consider preparing for their child. It assigns a temporary caregiver with the authorization to consent to your child’s medical treatment in the case of an emergency. Consent forms allow doctors and nurses to immediately evaluate and treat your child in your absence.

In extreme cases, flu can result in greater complications. According to the CDC, children under the age of five or with preexisting conditions are at higher risk for hospitalization due to flu related symptoms. Parents of children with existing conditions especially need to have consent forms in place, as their child may be more prone to illness or hospitalization.

The Purpose of a Medical Consent Form

The purpose of prepared consent is to eliminate any discrepancies in your child’s care. You can authorize specific treatments or tests, such as x-rays, anesthesia and medication, or choose to withhold consent on any procedures until you are present.

In emergency situations, prepared consent can be vital to time-sensitive procedures. If consent is not readily available, the health care representative is expected to act in the patient’s best interest on the basis of an “emergency exception rule”. This rule is guided by the assumption that reasonable persons (or parents) would consent to medical care if the guardian knew the severity of the emergency. The representative may only move forward if the child’s life is in danger, the guardian is unavailable for consent and treatment cannot be delayed to obtain consent.

As a parent, your child’s health is a main priority. Deliver copies of the consent form to your child’s babysitter or guardian, school, camp and local hospital. In addition to consent, this form provides details about your child’s health insurance, allergies, medications, medical history and contact information.

There should be no doubt surrounding your child’s health, particularly during flu season. By having a consent form in place, all treatments you agree to can be administered without hesitation. Don’t leave any uncertainty. Prepare a medical consent form and feel peace of mind knowing you have covered all your bases for your child’s health and well being.

Posted by Kristy DeSmit

Kristy is a blogger, Twitter enthusiast, and company legalese interpreter.