Children and Flu: Tips on Easing Their Discomfort + Printable School Absence Notes
Children and flu – it’s a stressful experience for both the child and the parents. When your little one ends up couch-bound and feeling yucky, use these tips on easing their discomfort. You can also grab our printable school absence notes too. Perfect for getting them back to class after they are feeling better.
Children and Flu:
Easing Their Discomfort
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract that can have a huge impact on a person, especially children. Symptoms usually begin about 2 days after exposure to the virus and can include: fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, dizziness, tiredness, cough and sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, and more.
While there are both over the counter and natural treatments for some symptoms, such as fever and headache, parents pretty much have to let the virus run its course. While you’re waiting for your child to overcome the flu, use some of these tips to at least make them feel more comfortable.
Put their favorite things within reach
Children and flu have something in common: the living room couch. That’s where most ill children spend their days as they recuperate. It might seem tricky to provide everything they need while laying down (and not running back and forth to hand them things), but there’s a great trick! Use a travel lap tray. Travel lap trays are built to handle movement and hold things in place – perfect for a child on the couch. Shown: Activity Snack & Play Tray from FunCo (available on Amazon)
Healthy Snacks & Fluids
Monitoring hydration is another important factor of children and flu. Water, Pedialyte, and even 50/50 water and natural juice will help. Once they can eat solid foods there are a few that are better choices than others. Crackers, dry toast, dry cereal, or pancakes (no butter or syrup) are a good start. You can also add a small dab of peanut butter to these for extra nutrients while they heal.
Give them a fun distraction
Even adults know that laying around with nothing to think about except how bad you feel just makes you feel even worse. Try giving your child some fun distractions to keep their mind off their symptoms. Instead of tv or computer games, offer coloring books and crayons, paper and markers, a word search, and even a new picture book or activity pad.
With my kids, sometimes just talking with them helped. I’d share my day, talk about the weather, their favorite tv show – anything I could think of. It didn’t matter if they talked back, as long as I kept their attention. It also makes them feel better knowing mom or dad are right there with them.
Use a humidifier
A humidifier in your child’s room can keep the air moist and break up nasal and chest congestion. Always use a cool mist humidifier. Warm humidifiers can get very hot and the steam can actually harm a child if they get too close.
…but keep it clean!
If a humidifier — especially the cool mist type — is not cleaned properly, bacteria or fungus can grow in the water tank and release into the room through the mist, potentially causing further health problems or infection.
- Daily: tank should be emptied, wiped dry and refilled
- Every Third Day: all parts of the unit exposed to water should be scrubbed with a disinfectant to remove film or other deposits, and then the tank should be rinsed thoroughly before the next use. [source: livestrong]
Hot and Cold Packs
Headaches, body aches, and fever Oh My! Soothe these symptoms the most natural way: with a hot and cold pack.
- Cold: headache, fever, soothing the neck during nausea or after vomiting
- Hot: muscle aches, joint pains, chills
When to Call The Doctor
Complications of colds and flu, including bronchitis, sinusitis, or other bacterial infections, need to be treated with antibiotics. Be aware, however, that what you might think is a cold or the flu could actually be strep throat or pneumonia, which also require antibiotics. [everyday health] Seek immediate medical attention if your child has:
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe headache
- Persistent fever
- Chest pain
If your child does get the flu or a cold, time and TLC will help make the recovery process easier for both you and your little one. Once they’re back to their old selves, it’s time to get back to school! Don’t forget to grab your copy of our free printable school absence notes below!
Is it just a cold? → How To Get Over a Cold Faster
Printable School Absence Notes
These adorable school absence notes are perfect to keep in the kitchen and ready for use. Each one is half a sheet and provides spaces for all the required information.