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How to Ease Your Child's Flu Symptoms

How to Ease Your Child's Flu Symptoms

It’s difficult to see your child struggle with an illness. And if your child gets the flu, caring for them can feel overwhelming — especially if you aren’t sure what therapies help and when it might be time to bring them in for medical care. 

At Wasatch Peak Family Practice & Oceans Contours in Layton, Utah, our board-certified providers offer specialized pediatric care to help give your child the healthy foundation they need for life, like an annual flu vaccine to help them avoid getting sick. 

We also know illnesses happen no matter what, so we’re here for you and your child when they get sick and can provide expert guidance to you when needed. Here’s a look at some of our top tips on helping your child through the flu, as well as signs that it’s time to bring them to our office for a visit.

Make sure you know what’s making your child sick 

The flu, the common cold, COVID-19, and other respiratory diseases have similar and often overlapping symptoms. And sometimes a simple cold can make a child feel as sick or sicker than viruses with more serious complications. 

The flu generally comes on quickly and has some distinctive symptoms that set it apart from the common cold, including:

Some children may also have gastrointestinal symptoms, like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you’re not sure whether your child has the flu, a cold, or another virus, schedule an appointment with a provider at Wasatch Peak Family Practice & Oceans Contours to set up a test. 

Keep your child hydrated

Your child may not feel like eating or drinking much when they have the flu, which can lead to dehydration and a worsening of symptoms. Help keep your child hydrated by offering them plenty of liquids throughout the day. 

Instead of plain water, you can give your child drinks with electrolytes in them or offer diluted juices and food high in water content, like soups, jello, or popsicles. If they don’t want to drink, make it more fun by putting their beverage in a fun container, letting them “drink” it with a spoon, or giving them a straw. 

Know which over-the-counter (OTC) medications to give

Since the flu is a virus, antibiotics aren’t used to treat this infection. Antiviral medications aren’t usually given to children since they come with a risk of side effects. Over-the-counter medications, on the other hand, can help ease your child's symptoms. 

Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help with the fever, muscle and body aches, pain from a sore throat, and headaches associated with the flu. Be sure to read the label to make sure you give your child the right dose based on their weight and age.

Avoid giving young children any medications that contain aspirin, and call our office if you have any questions about dosages or if you’re thinking of combining medications based on symptoms (e.g., cough medicine, cold medication, and fever-reducing medicines).

Help ease symptoms with natural therapies

Some of the best ways to ease your child’s symptoms don’t involve medications. For example, running a humidifier can ease stuffy noses and help alleviate coughing. For children over 12 months, a teaspoon or two of honey can provide relief for a sore throat.

Help your child feel better by setting up a comfy area for them to rest with lots of books and quiet toys. You can give them extra attention and even snuggle in with them for a fun movie. 

When to get medical help for the flu

Most of the time, the flu is relatively mild, and children recover at home without the need for specialized medical care. However, it’s important to know the signs that indicate your child might need to see a doctor about the flu.

Your child should come in for medical care related to the flu if they have any of the following symptoms:

To schedule your child’s annual flu shot or for help managing your child’s flu, schedule an appointment over the phone or by messaging a provider at Wasatch Peak Family Practice & Oceans Contours.

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