Survival Tips for Cold and Flu Season

as of 10/29/2014
Sniffles, sneezes, fever and wheezes; what is a parent to do? Here are some basics to help you survive the upcoming cold and flu season. We will be taking walk-in SICK patients from 7:30-9:45AM, no appointment necessary for established patients.

Please contact our office for more information about walk-in or call if you need an appointment.

There are things that parents can do to help their children feel more comfortable to combat these common problems. First and foremost, get your child to drink. Water and fluids act to make the mucus thin, enabling your child to cough it up more easily. Over the counter medications, such as Robitussin and Dimetapp should be staples in every parent’s medicine cabinet. These products come in various formulations and you can easily match the symptoms to the correct preparation. One should always have some Robitussin DM or it’s equivalent on hand to help with those nagging coughs that seem to creep up at bedtime.

Adding some moisture to the air, either with a cool mist humidifier or a vaporizer soothes those irritated breathing passages and also helps liquefy the mucus. Care of these devices is important. Wash the device daily with hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly and add fresh water.

Elevate the head of the bed to ease breathing. Babies should not have pillows in their beds, but a rolled up towel under the mattress at the head of the bed will help. For older children, sleeping on one extra pillow may help at bedtime.

Saline nose drops help children of all ages to be able to get thick mucus out of their noses.

Danger signs to look for are blue tinged lips, rapid breathing, flaring of nostrils in infants, use of muscles in chest that make the ribs visible with respiration’s and wheezing require medical intervention. During office hours call for an appointment, after hours bring your child to a local health care facility if these signs appear.

Upset tummies accompanied by diarrhea and/or vomiting are common childhood problems. Preventing dehydration is the most important intervention needed with these problems. Offer your child small amounts of clear liquids (liquids you can see through, i.e.: water, broth or Pedialyte, every 15 minutes. Coke and sprite are not optimal alternatives). Start with small amounts, a tablespoon or two and gradually increase, as your child is able to keep the fluids down.

After eight hours if there is no further vomiting, bland foods may be added. These foods include crackers, mashed potatoes, rice and non-fatty foods. Avoid milk products and rich foods such as butter, gravy and fatty foods until your child is tolerating bland foods for at least 48 hours. If your child has diarrhea alone, starchy foods such as crackers and rice may help thicken stools. Bananas, applesauce and carrots also help slow diarrhea. Electrolyte containing fluids such as Pedialyte replace important components that are lost through vomiting or diarrhea. Pedialyte also comes in frozen pops for older children. To enhance the flavor of Pedialyte for children who dislike it add a package of UNSWEETENED Kool-Aid or tablespoonful of powdered Gatorade to the container to improve the flavor. A rice rehydrating cereal can be made for babies by mixing ½ to 1 cup of infant rice cereal to 2 cups of water and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Feed about 4 ounces of this mixture after each loose stool. When the solution becomes too thick, it is time to make a new batch.

Signs of dehydration to look for include lack of tears when crying, decreasing or concentrated urine, depressed or sunken soft spot in infants, dry lips, lack of saliva in the mouth and decrease in activity and alertness. If these symptoms occur contact our office during office hours and after hours go to your local healthcare facility.

Fever is a symptom not a disease. It is the body’s way of fighting infection. Infants and children can become uncomfortable when they have a fever. Maintaining hydration is important when your child has an elevated temperature. Offer water, juice, Pedialyte for infants, Gatorade for older children frequently to prevent dehydration. Dress the child in light clothing to enhance cooling. If the temperature is making your child uncomfortable or is over 101 degrees, you can use over the counter medications such as Tylenol, Tempra, Motrin or Advil to relieve symptoms. A lukewarm bath given thirty minutes after medicating may also be helpful in bringing a fever down. Cold water and alcohol rubs should not be used. These cause the child to shiver and may actually raise the body temperature.

Danger signs to look for are signs of dehydration as outlined above or if your child is listless and unresponsive. During office hours call for an appointment, after hours bring your child to the closest healthcare facility. Please do not be afraid to call our office with any question. We will take your name and number when you call and our telephone nurse will call you back. Please be patient as she does return all calls the same day. During flu season our calls increase and sometimes it takes a little longer to get to each of you.

• Thermometer • Anti-fever Medication (Tylenol, Tempra, Motrin, Advil) • Cough Syrup (Robitussin, Dimetapp) • Benadryl syrup • Pedialyte for infants • Gatorade for older children • Chicken soup
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