Top Tips for Surviving Cold and Flu Season

| October 26, 2017 | 28 Comments

Little girl sickEvery year we go through the same thing and it feels like once October rolls around which is barely the beginning of cold and flu season, but after a summer of playing outside, being sequestered in a classroom all day gives the germs ample time to infect a large group of kids. While most colds and sneezes are no reason to keep the kids home from school, they are annoying. Also, as flu season gets underway, the illnesses circulating become more serious: influenza can lead to high fevers, body aches, dehydration and, in some cases, pneumonia and other secondary infections. Here’s what you need to know to get through the season safely:

Prevention

Your grandmother always said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is particularly true in the case of colds and flus, which don’t really have cures! Talk to your doctor about the benefits of receiving the influenza vaccine: While it’s not 100 percent effective, it can reduce your chances of getting the flu. If you’d rather avoid the needle, you and your kids might be candidates for the inhaled version; certain health conditions make it contraindicated, though, so don’t promise “no shots” to your children unless you know for sure that they’re able to get it safely. Aside from the vaccine, which doesn’t prevent the common cold, washing your hands frequently and avoiding sick people are your best defenses against all kinds of sicknesses. Also, be sure to eat right, exercise and get enough sleep; a healthy body is one that can fight off germs more efficiently.

If You Get Sick

If you do feel the telltale signs of sickness, which might include a sore throat, fever, general malaise, fatigue, headache and a wet or dry cough, you’ll need to run damage control. Continue washing your hands frequently, and cover your coughs and sneezes to help prevent spreading your germs. Drink your orange juice: Vitamin C can help reduce the length of the common cold. And your grandma was also right about chicken soup; apparently between the broth, the garlic and the moist heat, it might be just what you need to feel better. Not just that, the broth helps you stay hydrated!

Don’t give young children cold medications unless specifically advised to do so by their doctor, but if you need to take a symptom relief to get through the day or to sleep better, go ahead and do so. Make sure you’re not overdosing on any one ingredient by double checking labels: If you take a multi-symptom formula, it might contain acetaminophen, and taking Tylenol on top of it could lead to health problems. Taking Airborne or Emergen-C may when you first feel a cold coming on may help shorten your cold but there is no scientific proof of this. Zicam is good to take at the first sign on a cold.

When to Call the Doctor

Most of the time, colds and flu pass by uneventfully in about a week. If you do get a fever in and start feeling bad rather quickly you may think about calling your doctor because they may be able to get you on Tamiflu and that will possibly cut the flu symptoms down by a few days. There are a few symptoms that warrant a call to the doctor, though. If you or your child has asthma or other respiratory problems, or if this is your baby’s first illness, call the doctor right away for advice. Flu symptoms in a young child should prompt you to call the doctor, but cold symptoms, which are milder, don’t need to be reported if the child is acting normal, eating, sleeping and playing. If you’ve been mildly ill for a few days and then take a turn for the worse, also give a call: This can indicate as secondary infection, such as a sinus infection, bronchitis or pneumonia. Also, a fever that goes away and returns or that lasts longer than three days is another warning sign. Wheezing, trouble breathing and vomiting that doesn’t stop are symptoms for which you should seek urgent medical care.

I you have kids with asthma you may want to have them use their peak flow meter and record the readings so you can catch any possible lung issues early. Also, if you have to travel you may want to take your nebulizer or by a portable one to take with you in case your child gets sick while you are away.

With good hygiene and a good bit of luck, your family should make it through cold and flu season relatively unscathed, though chances are that there is at least one cold in your near future, particularly if you have kids in school. Stay healthy!

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  1. Preventing Family Sickness: Cold and Flu Season is Back | October 26, 2012
  1. kelsey R says:

    Thanks so much for the tips, Luckily my little ones havent got sick yet and I intend to keep it that way.

  2. Rebecca Sinclair says:

    Great tips! Back to school always brings on the germs and sickness. I always dread that part when my kids go back to school!

  3. Seyma Shabbir says:

    I always give the kids a shower after going to the park. After school they come home change their clothes, wash their hands and face.

  4. Amber Nara says:

    GREAT TIPS AND IDEAS!! Thank You! I am not doing flu shots this year due to the info I read about them we are going to go this year all natural like the old days!!! I will be using these if we get ill!!! Thanks!

  5. Longpig says:

    Definitely need this – I’ve taken to getting flu shots as every year is the same ugh :/

  6. Becky Bryant says:

    Thanks for the tips. We are definitely getting to that time of the season. I have started the sniffles myself today. I always get a flu shot one the advise of my doctor and I think this year I am going to have my granddaughter that lives with me get one too.

  7. Peggy Bolling says:

    I haven’t been sick in several years and I know it’s coming! Thanks for sharing such great tips!

  8. sheila musselman askins says:

    great tips! i get my daughter the flu shot every year..i have MS and my neuro says for me not to get the shot but everyone around me should. Keep in mind (this info from Childrens hospital where my daughter received her shot) if your child is getting the flu shot because someone has a weakened immune system in the household…the SHOT is the best prevention not the flu mist. Of course, this just thrills my daughter that she has to get the shot and not the mist lol

  9. LAMusing says:

    didn’t realize there is an inhaled version!

  10. Jennifer Y says:

    awesome tips!

  11. Richard Hicks says:

    Great tips and I don’t think I ever get tired of seeing them every year. Wish more people would heed them!

  12. Mary McCloy says:

    Thanks for sharing such great tips!

  13. misty farmer says:

    Oh we all need these kind of tips right now! Thanks a bunch!

  14. Nena Sinclair says:

    Great tips! This should be posted in all pre-schools, day cares, and elementary school rooms!

  15. Jennifer Mae Hiles says:

    Very good tips, about 7 months ago, my daughter went to sleep early on Friday, wasn’t feeling good on Saturday by Monday she had full blown pneumonia and was hospitalized. I had no idea it could happen that fast, it was so scary. She is doing just fine and I learned from that. I do not hesitate when she isn’t acting herself.

  16. Rebecca W. says:

    I usually don’t get sick, but my daughter has caught a cold twice from the kids at daycare, and passed it right along to me. Definitely glad for all the tips I can get to fight it!

  17. Karolina says:

    thanks a lot! very helpfull tips!

  18. Jenn says:

    great tips!! I also make sure the little ones are taking their daily vitamins

  19. Ashima Gupta says:

    Hey, thanks for all these tips…even I’m suffering from cold right now..

  20. tammy saylor says:

    Thanks for the great tip> I saw on the new last night the flu is already bad.

  21. Cami says:

    Great tips. One of my kids always seem to be sick :(

  22. Stephanie Larison says:

    Great tips! My daughter just got over the flu and it was so rough on here. Hubby ended up catching it. Thankfully I didn’t, I don’t know how that happened since I’m around her most.

  23. Jennifer Mae Hiles says:

    So scary right now with so many flu fatalities. My daughter got a respitory infection a couple weeks ago and we ended up in the ER but only because she has had pneumonia twice (she’s only 20 months) but she is much better now. I keep hand sanitizer in every room of the house!

  24. tammy hite says:

    my niece had the flu virus an was in hospital for 8 days. we had to wear the mask and those disposable gowns when seein her. they said to keep things as clewan as possible at home

  25. Jo-Ann Brightman says:

    Good tips. I also like to take some supplements when I feel the start of a virus/infection such a zinc, echinacia and CoQ10

  26. Maddie K. says:

    I have been fortunate not to get the flu (yet?) but in some ways I just wish I would so that I could stop running from it! Plus…I need to lose 10 pounds. LOL.

  27. Emilee says:

    Great tips! I’m actually sick right now, but as you said use damage control. I’ve been able to keep everybody else from getting it! Phew!

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