Just seeing our child get uncomfortable is hard enough, what more being sick for a couple of days? Children can easily contract a viral infection, such as cold, flu or other respiratory viruses. There are several things you can do to ease the symptoms and prevent further complications.

The first step as parents is knowledge. While most of us aren’t formally trained inmedical care; we rely on what we learned from advice from our doctor, family, friends, as well as what we remember from childhood.

Thankfully, most viral infections can be treated at home and don’t require a doctor’s visit. Cold and sore throat remedies are readily available in pharmacies or even online, so be sure to stock your medicine cabinet with them.

The first crucial information we need are how to know the difference and distinguish colds from flu and when to take the child to the doctor. Both colds and flu are highly contagious and, at its initial stages, a bad cold and a mild case of flu may look the same. However, flu is a very serious illness that can have life-threatening complications, unlike the common cold. Flu can come on suddenly and may include many of these symptoms:

  • Headache

  • High fever

  • Tiredness/weakness (can be extreme)

  • Sore throat

  • Dry cough

  • Runny nose

  • Body or muscle aches

  • Diarrhea and vomiting also can occur, but are more common in children.

Take note that if you suspect that your child has the flu, seek treatment immediately or within 48 hours to receive treatment with antiviral medications. Here are some warning signs in children that required urgent medical attention:

  • High or extended fever

  • Fast or trouble breathing

  • Bluish skin color

  • Not drinking enough fluids

  • Changes in general status, such as not waking up or not talking; being so ill-tempered that the child does not want to be held; or seizures

  • Flu-like symptoms improve for a while, but then return with fever and worse cough

  • Falling of underlying chronic medical conditions (for example, lung or heart disease, diabetes, etc.)

Caring for a child with fever. High fever is very common in children and scary for parents. To ease the child, loose the clothing, give lots of fluid, and give medications such as paracetamol and sore throat remedies for throat itch and coughing. Warm lemon, honey, and water will also ease a sore throat.

Dehydration. Fluids are the next best recommendation for viral infections/sickness. They are necessary for easing respiratory problems and for critical rehydration during vomiting and diarrhea. To ease coughing and congestion, carefully use a big, steaming pot of hot water in a small bathroom. Water and ice should be at hand for continuous drinking.

Vomiting. Vomiting sometimes accompanies high fever, preventing the medicine from doing its job. Acetaminophen suppositories can be placed in the refrigerator for such emergencies. Doctors also prescribe a Phenergan suppository for serious and continuous vomiting in a child.

The best and most recommended way to survive a virus is to rest. Make your child as comfortable as possible and let him or her sleep. Keep the door open and the house quiet. Regularly check to make sure the sheets are dry and the water supply is still enough. Simple foods such as saltine crackers and chicken soup are the best when your child is beginning to recover.

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