Boiron offers the following tips on how to help your kids stay healthy this flu season and what to do if the flu bug bites:
1. Talk to your child’s doctor. Get professional advice if your child is at risk for complications from flu.
2. Wash hands frequently. The viruses are spread by droplets from children infected with flu when they sneeze, blow their nose, or wipe away secretions from their nose or eyes. During the flu season, children should be encouraged to keep their hands out of their mouths, avoid rubbing their eyes, and wash their hands thoroughly several times a day, especially before meals.
3. Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins C and E. Foods containing these vitamins are believed to be helpful in supporting the immune system. Foods rich in vitamin E include sunflower and corn oil, sunflower seeds, and nuts such as almonds and peanuts. Your family can get their daily vitamin C from foods like orange juice, citrus fruits, broccoli and green peppers. And make an effort to reduce your child’s intake of concentrated sugar (e.g. soda, candy). Excessive sugar impairs the immune response.
4. Get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep may profoundly inhibit your child’s immune system. A full night’s sleep will help keep his body’s natural defenses at optimum efficiency. This is especially relevant to teenagers.
5. Stay hydrated. Increasing your child’s water intake will help him stay healthy. When he feels under the weather, drinking extra fluids prevents dehydration caused by fever, loosens mucus, keeps his throat moist, and lessens the chance of him coming down with flu. Warm liquids are preferable, and there is some evidence that inhaling steam early in the course of a cold or flu may reduce the spread of viruses in the upper respiratory tract. (Especially with children, be careful of hot liquids!)
6. Keep Oscillococcinum® readily available. Oscillococcinum (Oscillo®), one of the world’s most popular natural flu medicines, can reduce the duration and severity of flu symptoms when taken at the onset of symptoms. Its use is supported by published clinical studies as well as more than 65 years of worldwide use. Plus, unlike other flu medicines, Oscillo works without side effects and does not interfere with other medications. It is also available as Children’s Oscillococcinum®, safe for children 2 years of age and older.
7. Exercise regularly. Not only can regular exercise lower stress, but research indicates that exercise can stimulate the immune system and promotes healthy sleep. Encourage your child to stay active year-round.
8. Listen to your body. If your child does come down with a cold or flu, have him take it easy. Spending excessive energy steals valuable resources from the immune system. Even attempting to perform normal activities at school may be too much. Besides, if you believe your child’s coming down with the flu, probably the best thing you can do for friends and family is to not expose them unnecessarily to the virus.
9. Seek help if your child gets worse. If your child’s symptoms become significantly worse after the first three days of illness, especially if his fever subsides and then returns, be sure to seek medical attention right away. The reason that flu is considered a potentially dangerous infection is that it leaves the body vulnerable to other infections, like pneumonia.