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Tips for When Your Kids Have The Flu

Oct 22, 2007
The flu can be a dangerous illness, especially for children. Because of smaller body size, and developing systems, children are at an increased risk with regards to all the symptoms of the flu. Adults usually don't get the stomach-related symptoms that deprive a child of nutrients when they need them most.

Treating the Flu Conventionally

If your children contract the flu, it is vital for them to get plenty of rest. Don't allow them to engage in strenuous exercise or play. Even if they do not feel fatigued for the first few days, be firm. The body must be in a state of rest if it is to cope with the sickness brought by the virus.

Don't forget to give your children plenty of fluids. Water is especially helpful, as are isotonic sport drinks. Because children with the flu can also get diarrhea, replacing lost salts and water soluble vitamins is crucial to their recovery. If your children use alcohol or tobacco, you will need to see to it that they stop. Both these substances cause damage to the immune system, thereby making the entire flu experience worse.

Children and teenagers should also avoid taking aspirin when they have the flu, even if there is a fever. Taking aspirin during the flu can lead to Reye Syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal liver ailment. Also, while not generally known, fevers can assist the body in fighting off infection, influenza included.

The Use of Medication

There are three antiviral drugs approved for the purpose of preventing the flu. These are oseltavimir, rimantidine, and amantadine. All three are prescription drugs and thus require the recommendation of a doctor before they can be consumed. Another drug, zanamivir, has been approved in the United States for use in the treatment of the flu.

Giving medications to children should be done with a great deal of thought, and consult with a pediatrician. Many stores offer over the counter remedies. There are special children's formulas of over the counter flu medicines available that may be of some help to your child. These can help treat the aches, fatigue, coughs, and respiratory problems associated with the flu. Unfortunately, these medicines do nothing against the root of the problem, which is the reproduction and subsequent spreading of the virus itself.

When it comes to children, it is best not to experiment with "alternative" flu treatments that may have worked for you or another family member. Many of these treatments have not been tested, let alone approved by a regulatory agency. Thus their true reliability and efficacy is unproven; as is the ability to predict long term consequences to a developing body. In addition, the doses commonly available are not made with children in mind. While over the counter medicines and prescription drugs have many side effects, that information is well known by the doctors that recommend them. Perhaps one day robust clinical trials will be performed on homeopathic remedies, and they will be found safe and useful for children. Until then, it is best to go with what is known by licensed medical practitioners.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on The Flu.
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