Flu season begins in October and runs through the early spring. Getting your child a flu shot is the best prevention tool. Still, some kids will catch the virus anyway. When that occurs, among the most effective recovery measures is rest. Gina Labovitz, MD, FAAP, at Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics in Hoover, Alabama, offers the following guide to helping your child beat the flu.
The differences between a cold and the flu
The flu and the common cold have some similarities, but flu symptoms are usually more intense and develop quicker. Your child may have the flu if they have these symptoms:
- Tired and achy feeling
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Nausea, vomiting
- Loss of appetite
Some flu symptoms are also similar to COVID-19 symptoms. However, there are some differences. For example, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing can be common with COVID-19. If your child develops symptoms that may be related to COVID-19, call us right away.
What you can do to speed their recovery
Encourage your child to avoid catching the flu by washing their hands often, keeping their hands away from their faces, and staying away from those who are coughing and sneezing. If they get the flu, follow these tips to help them feel better faster:
- Keep them hydrated with water, sports drinks, and soup
- Make sure they get plenty of rest and take it easy
- Call our office if they seem to get worse, and give them any medication Dr. Labovitz may prescribe
The importance of rest
Getting adequate sleep and rest are two of the most important things your child can do if they get the flu. Encourage them to relax on the couch, watch a movie, or read if they feel up to it. It’s even OK to let them stay in their pajamas all day.
Sleep is essential because the human body releases cytokines during sleep, which aid in the immune system’s response to fight off infections. Furthermore, by resting, the body can direct more resources to fight off infections.
Making sure your child gets rest will help them get better sooner. And making sure your child gets plenty of sleep after they get well will help keep their immune system in tip-top shape.
If you think your child has the flu, watch them for a few days and use our tips to help them feel better. If their condition seems to get worse, or if they already have a health condition, such as asthma or diabetes, call us right away. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics today.