With colder temperatures brings amazing things like snow, slow cooker soups, the Super Bowl, sweaters and the flu.
Stupid flu…it always has to wreck a good thing.
This winter, 20 percent of the American population will get the flu. So, if you are a family of five…that means one person in your household is “going to get it” and hopefully NOT SPREAD it to the rest of the family.
(Which is why I have an arsenal of old school Lysol Spray and have been known to use it like perfume around the house – but I digress.)
But if you are like me, when the flu hits, you go into Mama Bear Mode and do EVERYTHING in your power to get your kiddo feeling better fast. (Because NO ONE has time for a sick kiddo or husband – and let’s be honest, sick duty usually falls on the mamas.)
Here are 10 Things To Do When Your Kids Get The Flu (so you can get them feeling better faster).
10 Things To Do When Your Kids Get The Flu
1. Determine if it is the cold or the flu.
Sometimes it is hard to tell (unless it is the projectile vomit flu…then it is pretty easy) if your kiddo has the flu or a cold.
In general, a cold lasts around two weeks and is accompanied by sneezing, coughing, sore throat and congestion. The flu on the other hand causes a fever of 101 or greater, you get awesome muscle aches and all you want to do is sleep.
Still confused? Here is a great Cold vs Flu Video to help you decide.
2. Stay Home.
This is hard in today’s society. We have obligations, errands, work, activities, etc…and it can feel like we will fall INCREDIBLY BEHIND if we don’t keep going…but once a body has the flu, it needs to recuperate. So as hard as it may be, cancel everything and just stay home and rest.
Sleep is the single greatest thing a person can do to get rid of the flu. Sleeping gives your body extra resources to fight off the virus. Plus, we don’t experience the icky symptoms of the flu (because we are asleep).
I know the kids are going to fight this one “till the death”, but stand strong and push for the nap when they try and convince you a “SpongeBob” marathon would be better.
If you have a fever, you are losing fluids. In order to feel better and relieve icky-symptoms, hydration is a must.
And while you can make your child guzzle a tall glass of water (there will be some screaming involved), there are other ways that are easier to help them stay hydrated. Use a humidifier, have them take a steam shower, eating popsicles or flush sinuses with a neti pot.
There is a reason we are usually not hungry when we have the flu, it’s our body attempting to eliminate the virus and toxins from our body in the quickest way possible (through sweating).
If they are hungry, stick to simple foods like fruit, crackers and chicken noodle soup.
6. Chicken Noodle Soup.
Grandmas have been using chicken noodle soup as the cure-all to the flu for decades.
But recent reports have shown that chicken noodle soup may actually help with flu symptoms. Some say the chemistry of the soup (chicken stock, noodles, carrots, salt) and others say leaning over a bowl of steaming soup increases vapor to the nasal passage…whatever it is, it works.
Here is my under 15 minutes Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe.
7. Wash hands and disinfect high-touch areas.
After a person’s immune system get compromised, it is easier for them to get sick again.
Make your house a germ-free zone by encouraging hand washing (especially when you come home from a store, gym, restaurant), as well as disinfecting high-touch areas like door nobs, remote controls, cell phones, steering wheels, and toilet handles.
Or be like me and just spray EVERYTHING with old-school Lysol Disinfecting Spray.
8. Try over the counter medicines to reduce symptoms.
Sometimes chicken noodle soup and rest isn’t enough when you are miserable.
There are several over-the-counter medications you can take to help alleviate the flu symptoms (it won’t make you get better faster, but it can make you more comfortable so you can sleep).
Medicines like decongestants, fever and pain reducers, expectorants and cough suppressants can help reduce symptoms if it is UGLY at your house.
If don’t like over the counter medications, here are some Homemade Cold and Flu Remedies.
9. Seek medical help when necessary.
There is no way to cure the flu once you get it other than “riding it out”. As a general rule, fevers lasts 2 to 3 days, the runny or stuffy nose 1 to 2 weeks, and a cough up to 3 weeks. If symptoms last more than three weeks, contact your doctor as it could be a sign of a more serious illness.
Also, if things start hitting the fan, go and see a doctor immediately (like Children’s Mercy Pediatric Urgent Care). Symptoms like difficulty breathing, dizziness or confusion, or persistent vomiting should be addresses by a professional.
There is no medal for “put-up-with-it-the-longest”…if it gets bad, go to the doctor.
10. Avoid the flu all together.
There single best way to avoid the flu is to get a flu shot.
Flu season is from October to May, with the peak in December to February. During these time frames, flu vaccines are available at most pharmacies and hospitals (include Children’s Mercy) and many insurance plans cover the cost.
Or I guess you can live in a germ-free bubble…there is always that option.
What about you? Have any home remedies or tried-and-true ways to get over the flu fast? Leave them in the comments and let us know.
Disclosure: Children’s Mercy is a partner of RedefinedMom. However, the written remarks and opinions are entirely my own. Want more information – check out my full disclosure statement.