6 things parents can have to help kids during cold and flu season

It’s cold and flu season, and parents can be proactive before their child gets sick.

It’s cold and flu season, which means the return of pesky coughs, congested noses and fevers. While many children feel better within a few days, parents can be proactive before their child gets sick.

Norton Children’s Medical Group

If your child has the flu, one of our pediatricians can help. Our pediatrician offices are located across Louisville, Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

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“The cold and flu are caused by respiratory viruses, which have to run their course and can’t be treated with antibiotics,” said Mark A. Brockman, Jr., M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Shepherdsville. “However, making sure you have a few helpful items at home can potentially make your child more comfortable if they aren’t feeling well.”

6 things parents can have to help kids during cold and flu season:

  1. Plenty of liquids
    • The flu can cause fever and appetite loss, which can lead to dehydration. Make sure your child is drinking plenty of water. Electrolyte solutions like Pedialyte can help supplement water intake. Sugary drinks should be avoided.
  2. Comforting items for rest
    • Your child needs lots of rest to help their body fight off the virus. Encourage them to rest in bed or on the couch with comfortable blankets, their favorite electronics, books, movies or quiet music.
  3. Over-the-counter medications
    • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help a child with fever or aches. Avoid aspirin for children. Over-the-counter cough and cold medications should only be given to children ages 6 years old and older.
  4. Saline drops, spray and suction bulbs
    • Stuffy nose is a common symptom of the common cold and flu. For babies or toddlers with stuffy noses, put a few drops of saline (saltwater) into the nose and gently suction out the mucus with a suction bulb. Do not exceed three times per day to avoid swelling, dryness or soreness in the nose. Older children can get two sprays of saline nose spray up to three times per day.
  5. Cool mist humidifier
    • Using a cool mist humidifier can help relieve coughs and runny or stuffy noses. The device should be cleaned at least once per day. Do not use hot water to avoid burns from any spills.
  6. Up-to-date flu vaccine
    • The best way to prevent serious illness from the flu is to ensure your children receive their annual flu vaccine if they are ages 6 months or older. The vaccine is available via a shot or nasal spray.

It is important to note that flu antiviral medications such as Tamiflu are not available over the counter. If you believe your child is sick with the flu, consult your pediatrician. They will prescribe this medication if it is needed.