So what happened? Your family was among the first in line to get flu shots. Yet somehow, some way – someone still ended up sick.
Don’t sweat it. (That’s the fever’s job.)
Here’s the thing: the flu shot is only about 30 percent effective. On the surface, that may not seem like much – but when you consider that it prevents millions of fatalities every year, vaccination should be an absolute must for everyone.
Still, even with the best of intentions, the flu happens.
The good news is that your child’s vaccination should considerably lessen the severity of the illness. The bad news? There is no pharmaceutical cure available.
There is no magic spell to send this microbial barrage of misery packing. And antivirals, such as TamifFlu – which must be taken within 48 hours of contracting the dreaded illness – only shorten its duration by one or two days. In our opinion, the pros of such drugs are wildly outweighed by the cons, which potentially include vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches. (Sound at all familiar? Hint: They’re flu symptoms.)
But with the proper rest and care, your son or daughter should feel better within a week’s time. These five home treatments for the flu can provide relief in the interim.
- Rest. Ample sleep and proper rest are, hands down, the best tonics for a swift recovery from influenza. Your child’s body needs a substantial time-out in order to redouble its efforts for healing. Not only that, but sending children to school when they are likely contagious is also inconsiderate to others that might be exposed. If your child has a fever, keep her home, and encourage cuddling up under a comforter for the duration.
- Fluids. It is also essential to keep your child’s respiratory system hydrated, and replenish liquids in the event of diarrhea and/or vomiting. Water is a tried-and-true winner, but energy drinks filled with electrolytes, fruit juices, and herbal teas with honey will also do the trick. Hold off on caffeine, which is a diuretic. But chicken broth or chicken noodle soup counts! Ice chips are an ideal delivery system if nothing seems to be staying down for long.
- Pain-relief. Influenza is typically accompanied by a high fever. These elevated temps, while alarming to parents, are hard at work burning off the illness. That doesn’t make the resulting aches and chills any less miserable. Provide comfort with acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen. Avoid aspirin, which has been linked to Reyes’ Syndrome, an illness targeting the liver and brain. Just keep in mind: the fever is not the problem, the infection is. Resist the urge to “cure” your child’s fever.
- Steam. Try placing a humidifier in your child’s room. Or fill the bathtub or sink with hot water and a touch of menthol or eucalyptus. Warm mist has been proven to break up mucus, relieve stuffiness, and alleviate flu symptoms.
- Keep washing those hands. Make this your new family pastime. Handwashing may sound simple or trite, and is often made out to be like medieval torture by younger kids, but it goes a long, long way in preventing the spread of germs to the other members of your family.
If you try these home treatments for the flu, but still have questions – give us a call or drop by one of our Maryland locations. KinderMender has been helping families fight off this illness for years, and we don’t plan on stopping any time soon.