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Children's Health

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Home Remedies for Children's Colds and Flu

Flu Symptoms: When to Call a Doctor

Call your child's pediatrician if flu symptoms include:

  • A fever over 101° F for longer than 72 hours
  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Listlessness or decreased urination
  • Or if symptoms linger for more than 10 days

Sore Throat: Tip to Help Your Child Feel Better

A sore throat can be caused by flu, strep throat, mononucleosis, allergies, tonsillitis, and more, so be sure your child sees the doctor to get the correct diagnosis. To help ease common sore throats:

  • Gargle with salt water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of water.
  • Use pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Never give aspirin to children under 18 because it can cause potentially fatal Reye's syndrome.
  • Drink fluids to help keep the throat lubricated. Give your child plenty of water, tea, 100% juices, and clear soups. Lozenges and hard candies can also help keep the throat moist (because of choking hazards, don't give lozenges and candies to children under 3).

Sore Throat: When to Call a Doctor

Give your child's pediatrician a call if, along with a sore throat, your child has:

  • Problems breathing
  • Great difficulty swallowing
  • A stiff neck
  • Signs of dehydration, which can include dry mouth, a lack of tears, decreased energy, and problems peeing
  • A fever over 104° F
  • If sore throat lasts more than two days

Fever: Tips to Help Your Child Feel Better

A fever means your child's body is trying to fight an infection. You can help it do its job with these quick tips.

  • Use pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These can help relieve a fever in children older than 6 months -- but be sure to talk to your doctor about the right dosage. Never give aspirin to a child under 18 years old due to the risk of potentially deadly Reye syndrome.
  • Offer fluids to help keep your child hydrated and reduce heat loss.
  • Dress your child lightly to avoid overheating. For example, in one layer of light clothing and one light blanket.
  • Sponge your child with lukewarm water to help relieve the discomfort of a high fever; stop if your child becomes cold.

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