Cold and Flu Tips for Parents
Nemours' KidsHealth.org offers tips for keeping your family healthy this season
January 15, 2013, Wilmington, DE ... Every child gets sick from time to time. When your child isn't feeling well, you'll want to know how to help and when to call the doctor.
To keep germs in their place, practice these healthy habits:
* Wash your hands and make sure your child's hands are washed thoroughly and often.
* Don't share drinking and eating utensils with others (especially if someone isn't feeling well).
* Don't pick up used tissues, but if you must, pick them up with a clean paper towel and wash your hands immediately after.
* Avoid crowds during a flu epidemic.
* Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. The best way is to sneeze or cough into your elbow or shirtsleeve, which helps prevent the spread of germs on your hands.
What's the Best Medicine for the Common Cold?
"Time cures all. That may not be always true, but in the case of the common cold, it's pretty close," says Kate Cronan, MD, medical editor for KidsHealth.org and a pediatrician at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE. "While they have a cold, children should avoid vigorous activity and should get plenty of rest and fluids."
KidsHealth recommends these helpful treatments:
To treat cold symptoms:
* Use saltwater drops in the nostrils to relieve nasal congestion.
* Use a cool-mist humidifier to increase air moisture.
* Put petroleum jelly on the skin under the nose to soothe rawness.
* An older child (over 4 years old) can have hard candy or cough drops to suck on to relieve sore throat pain.
* Consume plenty of extra non-caffeinated fluids, such as juice and water.
To treat flu symptoms:
* Offer lots of non-caffeinated fluids to prevent dehydration.
* Have your child get plenty of sleep and take it easy.
* If your child is uncomfortable, give acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve fever and aches (Do not give aspirin to children or teens as it may cause a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome).
* Encourage dressing in layers, since the flu often makes a person cold one minute and hot the next. Wearing layers, like a T-shirt, sweatshirt, and robe, makes it easy to add or remove clothes as needed).
Call the Doctor If Your Child:
* Has flu symptoms
* Has a high fever, or fever with a rash
* Has trouble breathing or rapid breathing
* Has bluish skin color
* Is not drinking enough fluids
* Seems very sleepy or listless
* Seems confused
* Has flu symptoms that get better, but then get worse.
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KidsHealth.org is the number one site devoted to children's health and development in English and Spanish. Each year, over 250 million parents, kids, and teens turn to KidsHealth.org for expert answers, making it the Web's most-accessed site on children's health. KidsHealth.org has been honored as one of the 30 Best Websites by U.S. News & World Report, one of the 50 Coolest Websites by TIME magazine, and the Best Family Health Site "For Moms" by Good Housekeeping. KidsHealth also creates KidsHealth in the Classroom, a free website for educators featuring standards-based health curricula, activities, and handouts. KidsHealth comes from Nemours, one of the nation's largest nonprofit pediatric health systems and a founding member of the Partnership for a Healthier America, a partner to First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign that mobilizes the nation to eliminate childhood obesity within a generation. For more information about KidsHealth, please visit KidsHealth.org.