Flu season is upon us, which should mean a lot of preventative measures such as hand-washing and covering your face when you sneeze or cough. Prevention isn’t always enough, though, and if your little one is down with the flu, you’ll want to do everything to be treating children’s flu symptoms and ease them back to health.
Don’t confuse influenza – colloquially known as the flu – with an everyday cold or a stomach illness. Children suffering from the flu struggle with chills, fever, body aches, congestion or runny nose and loss of appetite. Children under the age of five, those with asthma or weakened immune systems may be at risk for serious complications, so seek treatment immediately if your child falls into any of these high-risk populations.
Many children just need time to fight off the infection at home. While this may take up to two weeks, the most severe symptoms typically subside in two or three days. To help ease your child’s recovery, we recommend:
Hydrate: As with other illnesses, flu may dehydrate your child. Make sure to give them plenty of water or uncaffeinated drinks. If your child grows weary of drinking water, ice pops and watery fruits such as grapes or oranges can also help hydrate him.
Sit Upright: Congestion may make it difficult to breathe, and sitting upright helps it drain. Encourage your child to sit up while awake, and prop her up on large stacks of pillows at night.
Avoid Aspirin: Ibuprofen or acetaminophen are great for keeping fevers down and fighting aches. Consuming aspirin during the flu can trigger Reye syndrome, so don’t administer it unless instructed by your physician.
Fight Congestion: Your child will struggle with mucus while fighting the flu, so help him get the edge. Use saline rinses to loosen it from nasal passages, and place a humidifier next to his bed to further loosen mucus.
If your child struggles with difficulty breathing, severe vomiting or have a high fever with a rash, home treatment may not be enough, and you’ll need help treating children’s flu symptoms. Schedule a sick child visit with the Youth Clinic by calling (970) 482-2515.