How to Help Your Sick Child Get Enough to Drink
Just like grownups, kids need plenty of fluids when they've got a cold or the flu. But if your little one won't play along when you say "drink up," it's time to get creative. Making it fun is the secret.
What Fluids Will Help?
According to the experts, just about any fluids are good for your sick child. Try some of these:
Water. It'sthe easiest choice, but if your child says it's boring, add a little juice to liven it up.
Fruit juices. Most kids love them. But when they come from citrus fruits, like OJ, they can irritate a sore throat.
Apple or grape juice may be more soothing. Dilute it with water so your child gets less sugar.
But if your child is dehydrated, fruit juice doesn’t have the right mix of sugar and salt to treat it. Get an oral rehydration solution like Pedialyte instead.
Decaffeinated tea. For anolder child, warm beverages are soothing and can help break up mucus. Just make sure it's not too hot so it doesn't scald or burn him. As long as he's older than 1, add some honey to make his sore throat feel better and ease a cough.
Milk. Despite what you may have heard, it's fine for kids with colds or flu. It won't cause mucus buildup. The protein, calories, and fat in it can help keep up your sick child's strength.
What shouldn't your sick child have? Skip caffeinated drinks and avoid sugary ones or sodas. But you don't have to be strict about it. If something sweet is all your sick kid is willing to swallow, it's OK to make an exception for now.
What if Your Child Won't Drink?
Colds and flu sap the appetite, and he may not feel like drinking. If that happens, think of some tempting alternatives to a glass of water or juice:
Popsicles. If possible, get ones that are sugar-free or made with real fruit juice, or make your own. Pedialyte comes in frozen pops, too.
Gelatin. Use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes.