Helping Your Child through the Flu
Despite your best intentions and diligent prevention tactics, it is possible that your child will end up with the flu at some point this year. Once she gets it, the most important thing you can do is keep her comfortable, and that isn’t always easy.
Here are some tips and ideas for helping your child through the flu and its accompanying discomfort.
Bland Is Best
Even if your child isn’t feeling nauseated, it is a good idea to keep her meals light and somewhat bland. Snacking on a little food all day is better than letting her tummy get empty, too. Here are some examples of foods that may work best:
- Saltine crackers
Try to stay away from sugar and dairy products. The sugar tends to cause a slowdown in the immune system’s work, and dairy can thicken mucous, making that cough or stuffy nose even worse.
Plenty of Liquids
Liquids help flush your child’s system of toxins and keep it working efficiently. When she doesn’t feel good she may not want to drink anything. Water is best but you can make it tastier by adding a slice or two of orange, lemon, or lime.
Other fresh fruits like strawberries will work, too. Don’t give her too much juice. It has a lot of natural sugars, plus the acids in it can cause tummy upset. If you can’t get her to drink water, then give her a juice spritzer – 1/2 cup of juice to 1/2 cup of club soda.
I prefer not to give fever reducers until a certain point, because a fever helps to kill off the invading germs and it tends to keep children in resting mode more than they normally would be.
Your child will probably be the most comfortable with her fever around 100F and that is still high enough to give the flu a run for its money. Never ever give a child aspirin because it can cause serious illness in some cases.
Plenty of Rest
It isn’t necessary for your child to stay in bed, but creating a comfy nest on the couch is a good idea. This isn’t the time to worry about excessive television or DVD watching, although you might want to keep the video games off the radar.
Put on a favorite movie and set a glass of water nearby. Try not to play movies that have a lot of action – a kinder gentler movie may lull your child to sleep.
When your child isn’t feeling well, you should probably not worry about anything but hard deadlines. A little dust never hurt anyone (says the Type A clean freak). It is more important to cuddle your child, read stories, and give them all the mom time that they need.
Having the flu is never fun, but you can make it easier on both of you by keeping things low key and making your patient the center of the universe for a few days.
photo credit: The Gearys