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Winter brings with it a slew of illnesses, including the flu and the common cold. Winter illnesses are often caused by viruses, and while most are mild for children, they can sometimes lead to complications. All parents want to keep their kids safe and care for them properly when they catch one of these bugs. Keep reading for the best way to protect children during the flu season.
What Is the Flu?
Influenza is a viral infection involving the nose, throat, and lungs. It is very contagious and can cause children to feel sick for up to a week. Frisco Texas Pediatrician flu season is always monitored to stay abreast of conditions impacting area residents.
Treating the Flu
Most patients do not need any medical intervention to treat the flu. Sometimes, doctors may prescribe an antiviral medicine, which works best when given in the first few days of contracting an illness. An antiviral can cause symptoms to be milder and shorten the virus lifespan by a few days. Antivirals have several side effects, so the doctor should discuss the pros and cons before prescribing them.
Children should drink lots of liquids. Because appetite loss and fever are frequent with the flu, children can become dehydrated easily. Ensure the child is urinating at least three to four times daily.
Children should also rest either in bed or on a couch and get plenty of sleep. Watching movies, listening to quiet music, and reading books are enjoyable activities for children when they are recovering. Consider dressing children in layers so they can easily remove or add clothing when bouts of chills or fever occur.
Over the Counter Medications
Children can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever and aches. They should not take aspirin unless a doctor directs them to do it. Children can take over-the-counter cough or cold medicine if they are six years or older and their doctor approves. Always follow dosage instructions on these medicines.
A cool-mist humidifier can help ease coughs and stuffy noses. Cleaning it each day is essential for sanitary reasons. Honey is an excellent homeopathic remedy for coughs as well. Cough drops, lozenges, and gargling with salt water can help soothe sore throats.
The flu vaccine provides an easy way to take care of everyone in the family. The shot is recommended yearly for everyone over six months of age. Washing hands and spraying Lysol will also keep contagious germs away from others in the house.
Complications to Look For
Most cases of the flu are mild, but there are a few complications to watch for. Because dehydration can be dangerous for children, keep track of the child’s urinary output. Watch for respiratory distress like difficulty breathing, fast or heavy breathing, and using the muscles between the ribs to breathe. Fevers that last longer than four days can also be dangerous. If the child exhibits any of these symptoms, or if the flu lasts more than two weeks, take them to a physician for evaluation. Fevers that last longer than four days can also be dangerous.
Taking care of children during flu season can be challenging and stressful for parents. With patience and care, however, a mom or dad can help their child recover when they contract a virus like the flu.