How to Take Care of Your Kid if He's Got the Flu
When your child is achy and feverish with the flu, some simple home remedies can make him feel more comfortable. You'll be surprised what a little TLC and common sense can do.
Get Cool and Comfortable
You can't just wave a magic wand, but some old-fashioned methods can bring lots of relief:
Cold compresses. Put them on his forehead to ease a fever.
Lukewarm baths. They can also bring down his high temps. Just make sure the water doesn't get too cold. If he starts shivering, take him out of the tub, because that can push his fever up.
Warm compresses or warm water bottles. Use them to soothe his aching body. Make sure the water bottle isn't too hot, and don't let your child fall asleep on it.
Never microwave the compress or bottle. It creates hot spots that burn the skin.
It's a great way to get rid of a headache or pains in his body. "Just rubbing your child's head or back really can make them feel better," says Lisa M. Asta, MD, a pediatrician and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Moisture. Try cool humidifiers, vaporizers, or saline spray. They all keep your child's nasal passages moist, which is helpful when he's all stuffed up. Clean your humidifier or vaporizer before and after you use it so it doesn't breed bacteria and mold.
Warm liquids. Soups and herbal teas soothe a sore throat and help break up mucus in his airways.
Remember, your goal isn't just to get rid of flu symptoms. You want to make your child feel safe, comfortable, and cared for. "Sometimes just cuddling is the best thing you can do for a child with cold or flu," Asta says.
Tips to Help You Give Your Child Medicine
Your little one won't always need medication if he has the flu. For example, Asta says you don't need to treat a light fever if your child is feeling alright. For severe aches and pains -- or a fever over 102 F that makes him uncomfortable -- over-the-counter drugs can help. Just make sure to use them carefully.