Once again flu season is upon us. Parents everywhere are getting their children vaccinated in hopes of preventing them from becoming ill with the flu.Unfortunately, having your child vaccinated against the flu doesn’t always prevent them from catching it. So whats a parent to do if despite all their precautions their child still comes down with the flu? One of the most important things any parent of a flu stricken child can do is to make their child comfortable and ease flu symptoms as much as possible. In the last couple of years parent’s have been cautioned about using over the counter medications to treat flu symptoms due to safety concerns. You may be wondering can a parent ease their children’s flu symptoms without using medication? Fortunately there are several natural ways parents can keep their flu stricken child comfortable and alleviate their flu symptoms without resorting to medication. Here are ten ways parents can ease their childs flu symptoms naturally.
10 Ways To Ease Flu Symptoms In Children
1. Keep Kids In Bed
When a child initially comes down with the flu or flu like symptoms parents should keep them home from school to prevent the spread of the flu virus and give their child’s body a chance to rest. With young children that’s often easier said than done. Often times they think they are feeling better and want to get up and run around or play and then end up feeling worse. Parents can encourage children to stay in bed by making their bed as comfortable as possible with plenty of pillows, a remote for the TV, a glass of water, tissues, a bell to ring when they need something and any thing else they might want or need.
2. Prop Them Up
Children with flu symptoms who sit upright while in bed can breathe better because the mucus is able to drain better than when they are flat on their backs. To help ease a child’s congestion use lots of pillows to prop them up in bed. For those who have an infant who has the flu prop the mattress up by placing pillows underneath it instead of under their head to prevent suffocation.
3. Keep Them Hydrated
Getting children to drink plenty of liquids while sick with the flu can present a challenge for many parents. However keeping sick children hydrated is important because adequate fluid intake keeps children’s respiratory system hydrated and helps prevent mucus from building up in the bronchial tubes where it can cause infection. In order to get children to drink more fluids try to make drinking fun and interesting by providing a variety of different fluids to drink such as water, fruit juices and sport drinks and serve them in funky cups or with colored or crazy straws. For added fun try turning fruit juices into slushies by blending them with crushed ice or add ice cubes made with a couple of drops of food coloring to a clear glass of water.
4. Try Salt Water
Nothing is as uncomfortable for a flu stricken child and prevents the rest their body desperately needs than a stuffy and irritated nose. To help ease nasal congestion parents can use over the counter nasal saline drops to ease stuffy noses in children and keep their nasal passages moist. Not only do kids feel better but a study by Czech researchers found that children who used saline nasal sprays missed less school and less severe flu symptoms than children who didn’t use saline nasal sprays.
5 Cook Up Some Homemade Goodness
A good homemade chicken noodle and vegetable soup is a great way to ease flu symptoms in children. In scientific studies chicken soup has been shown to decrease congestion in the nose, throat and chest by thinning mucus secretions. The noodles in the soup provide much needed carbohydrates which provide the body with a boost of energy and the vegetables add much needed nutrients which help support the immune system. In addition the hot liquid can help a child who is suffering with chills to feel warmer and more comfortable.
6. Let Them Gargle
As parents we usually try and prevent our children from acting silly and gargling their drinks. However if your child is sick with the flu you may want to encourage them to gargle sips from a glass of salt water to ease sore throat symptoms.Lemon juice and honey is another popular gargle that parents can also try. Just remember honey should never be given to a child under the age of one.
7. Keep Noses Moist and Comfortable
Flu symptoms such as runny or congested noses can cause children’s noses to become raw, red and irritated from repeated blowing. To help help soothe children’s sore noses parents can provide them with tissues that contain lotion and apply a little bit of soothing petroleum jelly underneath and on the ends of red and raw little noses..
8. Try Hot and Cold Compresses
Warm or cold compresses can be helpful in relieving children’s flu symptoms. A compress held a against the nose helps to relieve sinus pressure and congestion while a cool compress on the eyes or forehead can alleviate the pain of a sinus headache or help a child who has a fever feel more comfortable. Reusable compresses can be purchased at your local retail store or made out of a wash cloth that is heated or soaked in cool water before applying.
9.Turn Up The Steam
The steam from a shower can help keep nasal passages moist and relieve congestion caused by flu symptoms.To use this method to help ease symptoms of congestion allow older children to sit on a chair in the bathroom with the door closed while hot water from the shower fills the room with steam. Parents should never use this method with young children as they may try and play with the water or get into the shower and be burned by the hot water.
10. Provide Distractions
When you’re a child being sick in bed or kept indoors while all your friends are out playing is no fun.To help their child’s time in bed be a bit more bearable parents can provide fun distractions to keep their child from becoming bored and irritable. Reading a book to their child, renting a few family oriented DVDs or providing simple arts and crafts projects are all great ways parents can keep their child occupied and happy while they are recovering from the flu.
No method is going to completely eliminate flu symptoms in children once they have started. However by following these ten tips to ease children’s flu symptoms hopefully parents will be able to make their child more comfortable while they recover from the flu.
The information in this article is not intended to replace that of a licensed medical professional. If your child is ill please consult their pediatrician for advice.
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