snotty-nosed child

Winter may be over but pesky colds and flu are far from distant memories.  With no known cure the common cold and seasonal flu can be a battle to beat but there are few simple tricks that will help you banish the boogers.

On average a child will catch a cold, caused by the airborne rhinovirus eight times a year. So be on the lookout for a runny nose, headache, fever and sore throat, which can all be early symptoms of a cold. Children with a cold can also experience fatigue, muscle aches and a loss of appetite. Rhinovirus can travel over three meters when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and can live on surfaces such as desks and doorknobs.

The flu is caught in a very similar manner but instead caused by one of three types of the influenza virus. While the symptoms of the flu are similar to those of a cold they normally have a more rapid onset and during the first two to three days of illness are far more intense than cold symptoms. Children with the flu may experience stomach pain and vomiting as well as symptoms similar to the common cold. The flu also tends to cause higher temperatures and chills.

It’s incredibly important to know how to tend a child sick with a cold or flu but more important is knowing what can help stop the spread of these illnesses and protect your children in the first place. Ensure your children know how to properly wash and dry their hands and do it on a regular basis and talk to your doctor about a flu vaccination before influenza season starts.

If your child does start showing symptoms of a cold or flu act quickly to try and lesson their symptoms and manage their discomfort. The following are only suggestions. If you are worried about your child, they seem confused and lethargic, have trouble breathing or have had a sustained high temperature seek medical attention.

Stay home.

The most important thing to do when your child has a cold or flu is keep them home from school and other activities. Not only will it help them feel much better but it will help stop the spread of the illness and keep other children safe.

Rest up.

Fighting off an infection is hard work and keeping well rested can be the difference between being out of action for a couple of days or a whole week. Children don’t need to be confined to their beds at all times but quiet, relaxed activities like puzzles, watching movies or reading a book will give their bodies time to heal.

Fluids, Fluids and more fluids.

Staying hydrated is beneficial even when we’re feeling well. Ensure your child is getting enough fluids with the majority of their intake being water. If a child isn’t eating well or has been vomiting drinks with electrolytes can be a huge help but make sure they aren’t more than half of their fluid intake.

The local supermarket or chemist is a treasure trove of different remedies. If you haven’t been to the doctor you can always pop down to your local purveyor of over the counter medication and find something that will help your little tyke. Ensure that whatever medication you are buying is suitable for their age and make sure you read the directions on the label. Vapour rubs are a tried and tested medication that helps especially well during the night.

The best thing to give a child with a cold or flu is good old fashioned tender loving care. Show your little one that you love them, and try and get some quality relaxing in together. Listen to them, cuddle with them and let them know that it’s going to be ok.

Remember that the best way to protect your children from illness is through prevention and if you have any concerns contact your GP or health line on 0800 611 116.

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