Caring for your children during cold and flu season

During the cold and flu season, children are at risk of becoming sick. Here are some tips that may assist with helping to take care of them during the cold and flu season.

1. Ensure that they get plenty of fluids
To main your children’s hydration levels is key. Fluids may be lost and used up as their bodies battle their sickness and they may not feel like drinking as much. Their usual fluid intake may be inhibited due to irritation in their throat, such as inflammation or having a sore throat or coughing. It may also be uncomfortable for them to drink when they are sick.

What can help in this situation is breastfeeding them more often than you usually do. If your baby isn’t interested in being fed, you can feed them for shorter periods of time more frequently so that they are able to consume more fluid. If you have an older child, then you can help them to get more fluids by offering them popsicles, juice, broth or soup.

If your child is still an infant, it is very important to pay attention to any signs that they may be dehydrated. Should you notice that when they cry there are no tears, that they have dry lips, or have decreased physical activity or urinate less than three to four times in a 24 hour period - it is recommended that you seek urgent medical attention from your paediatrician.

2. Encourage them to rest
Resting may assist with helping your child to recover. Helping your child to wind down at the end of the day can assist them with falling asleep at the right time. Limiting their screen-time in the last hours before they go to bed may help them to ease into bed better and be less stimulated. Furthermore, reading them a bedtime story can help you to bond with them and help them to ease into bed. 

3. Give them a warm bath
Giving your children a warm bath may help them. As they bathe, they’ll be breathing in air with a higher moisture content which could help to loosen phlegm and assist them to decongest their nasal passages. By putting some age-appropriate bath toys into their bath, it may encourage them to stay in for a longer period of time - which could mean that they would be breathing in the moist air for more time.

4. Teach them how to prevent the spread of germs
It is said that “Prevention is the best cure” - so teach your children how best to prevent the spread of germs and pathogens. Show them how to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water - and help them to do this as part of their routine before they eat or drink and after they go to the bathroom. Furthermore, teaching them not to share their utensils or food or drink with anyone, or to eat anyone else’s food can also help to prevent the spread of germs.

Overall, children are at risk of falling sick with colds and flu. Those below the age of 5 are particularly at risk. Taking care of them needs to be made a priority over this time, and seeking medical attention sooner rather than later is advised.

Health Biology