Texas Children's Health Plan helps members prepare for cold and flu season


Educational program and free Cold and Flu Survival Kit helps reduce member visits

HOUSTON - (Sept. 28, 2015) - Last year during cold and flu season, Texas Children's Health Plan developed a program to educate members, families and providers about proper treatment and prevention for the common cold, flu and upper respiratory infections (URIs). Members received a short educational session in English or Spanish, along with a "Cold and Flu Survival Kit." As a result, the Health Plan saw a decline in the rate at which members sought care over an eight-month period from 3.5 visits per month prior to receiving the kit, to 2.95 visits per month after.

For the Medicaid State of Texas Access Reform (STAR) program, URIs account for 25 percent of potentially preventable visits. For the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), URIs account for 19 percent of them. The goal of this program was to reduce the number of these preventable visits by educating families about colds, the flu and URIs and products that can be used safely at home.

Colds are caused by viruses, therefore antibiotics are not effective at helping children feel better quicker. While not a cure, the Cold and Flu Survival Kit contains items that can make it easier for families to help ease their children's symptoms until the body naturally rids itself of the illness. The kit also includes educational pieces on how to use the items, know the difference between the cold and flu and correct dosage amounts for children. Items in the kit include:

  • Nasal blub to help clear a baby's nose
  • Tissue to cover a child's nose and mouth when they sneeze
  • Honey elixir, for children older than 1, to help relieve a cough
  • Hand sanitizer to stop the spread of a cold
  • Fever reducer and dosing guide to relieve pain and fever
  • Thermometer to track a child's temperature

Remember, good hand washing and not sharing food, cups, forks, etc. will help stop colds from spreading. As cold and flu season ramps up this year, the Health Plan is offering this educational program once again. For more information on how to attend an education session and get a free Cold and Flu Survival Kit, visit coldandfluhero.org.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.