Tips to Help Your Kids Fight the Cold and Flu
With the back to school season in full swing, the start of flu season, and the dropping of temperatures, it’s no wonder your children may start getting sick! And every mom knows, a sick kid = more stress.
Well, we have a few tips for you to not only help prevent the cold, but also tips for treating it!
How To Prevent
Children tend to catch colds easily because their immune systems are encountering viruses for the first time. They are also unable to kill them as quickly as adult immune systems. While getting sick is no fun, it actually helps their immune system learn to recognize viruses and fight them off. Essentially, a cold makes your little one’s immune system stronger! However, getting sick too often isn’t great either. Here are a few ways you can help prevent your child from getting the cold and flu.
Making sure your toddler washes their hands frequently is a simple way to prevent colds. This is because it helps to remove germs from the hands and keeps them from entering the nose and eyes when touched. Simply remove germs by washing hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds. This is especially important before meals, after bathroom visits, and after coming home from outside. If you’re on the go, carrying alcohol-based hand sanitizers or wipes is a great option to help remove bacteria from the hands!
Seasonal Flu Shot
The flu shot is recommended by the CDC for those 6 months and older. There are a variety of vaccine options you can choose from that’ll work for you and your family! It not only helps to reduce flu illnesses, but a 2017 study showed that a flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from the flu. Your little one should get one as soon as possible because it takes two weeks for the body to develop antibodies to fight the flu viruses.
Fruits and Vegetables
Including plenty of fruits and vegetables into your child’s diet is a great way to boost their immune system. This is because they contain beneficial nutrients that helps to increase the body’s production of white blood cells.
Getting enough sleep is an important part of fighting off illnesses. The body’s immune system is more vulnerable if you are deprived of sleep. Newborns need up to 18 hours of sleep, toddlers need 12-13 hours, and preschoolers need about 10 hours of sleep. Make sure your little one gets enough shut eye by either taking naps or having an earlier bedtime.
Cold vs. Flu
So what’s the difference between the cold and flu? Well, it can be hard to tell the difference, sometimes even impossible, based on symptoms because they share many of the same ones.
The cold is caused by viruses and it is milder than the flu. So how long does a cold last in toddlers? You can expect a cold to last about 4-7 days. Children are most likely to have a runny or stuffy nose when they catch it and cold symptoms come more gradually. A sore throat starts at the beginning. A runny nose starts around day 2 or 3 days and a cough usually starts about halfway through the cold.
The flu is caused by the influenza virus and is worse than the common cold as the symptoms are usually more intense. The flu can also result in serious health problems. So what are the flu symptoms in kids and how long does the flu last in toddlers? The flu lasts around one to two weeks and its symptoms usually come abruptly. With the flu, it is more common to have a fever, body aches, headache, chills, and cough and chest discomfort. In children, vomiting and diarrhea is more common compared to adults.
When To Visit A Doctor
You may be wondering, “When should I take my toddler to the doctor?”. Here are a few signs a visit to the pediatrician is needed.
- If your child is 3-6 months and his/her fever goes above 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- If your child is older than 6 months and his/her fever goes above 103 degrees Fahrenheit
- If your child seems lethargic.
- If your child’s cough gets worse or sounds wet.
- If your child’s cough doesn’t get better after 3 weeks.
- If your child is vomiting or vomits during coughing fits.
It can be difficult to know what to feed a child with the flu or cold and what will make them feel better. No worries because we have some toddler flu remedies you can try at home to soothe your little one while they’re sick!
One important thing to note is, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, over-the-counter cough and cold medicine and cough suppressants may not be the best for children under 6 years old. This is because they can have bad reactions such as agitation, irritability, and hallucinations. So keep the over-the-counter medicine away and consult with a doctor if your child is 6 years or older.
Honey is great for children one years old and up. It is good for soothing the throat and relieving coughs. Because of that, it can help children sleep better at night. Best of all, since it tastes good, you won’t have to worry about your child refusing to take it! Just be sure not to give it to children under the age of one as their immune system is not strong enough yet.
Chicken Noodle Soup
This is not old warm and good for the throat and body, but also contains anti-inflammatory properties. It is a comfort food and since it’s warm, it helps to loosen mucus in the nose and throat passages.
Cold treats is a good way to help soothe an itchy and irritated throat. It can be popsicles, crushed ice, or even frozen fruit.
Yes, you read right, salt water. But no it isn’t for drinking, but for gargling. It is a simple way to ease throat irritation and loosen mucus. You can mix half a teaspoon of salt with water to make the solution. However, be sure to only give it to children that can spit it out and not swallow the salt water solution.
When sick, children are more irritable and can have a hard time sleeping. Help them feel more at ease with comfortable pajamas or even a stuffed animal to cuddle with. Go for 100% organic cotton clothing, like WithOrganic’s baby clothing. This is because organic cotton is not only softer than conventional cotton, but is also gentler on their delicate skin.
If your little one is having trouble sleeping, propping their pillows can help! Elevate their head by adding an extra pillow. This helps to drain mucus by keeping their airways open. It also ensure that they are able to breathe comfortably.
Warm liquids like warm water or soups are great for your child during their cold. This is because it can help soothe the throat and chest. It also helps to loosen mucus. It is also important to keep hydrated during a cold so make sure your little one gets enough water!
Using a humidifier can help reduce coughs by thinning out mucus in the nose and throat. It also soothes irritation from a dry throat. However, make sure to clean the humidifier out daily because bacteria and mold can easily form.
With these tips and tricks to help prevent and soothe a cold and flu, we hope you and your family have a healthy Fall and Winter season!