Some years it seems like my kids are sick all winter long. I asked our friends at Lakewood Pediatrics for their best tips for cold and flu season. Here’s advice straight from the doctor with all you need to know about staying healthy and getting better if you or your kids do get sick! PS If you are shopping for a new pediatrician, be sure to check the bottom of this post for what makes Lakewood Pediatrics different. We think you’ll want to know!
Cold or Flu?
As winter approaches, we can expect to see more colds around. Colds and flu are caused by viruses, and there dozens of different ones. Generally the milder infections result in some sniffles and cough. Depending on the person and the virus, one might also have a little fever or sore throat along with mild aches. Influenza is generally associated with higher fever, more aches, and more tiredness.
Cold viruses do not respond to medications like antibiotics, and usually go away after several days without treatment. There are medications called antivirals that help for flu, but they must be taken very soon after coming down with the flu in order to be effective. If one waits more than 2 days after becoming sick to see the doctor for flu, then the medication doesn’t help that much.
- The best advice for avoiding the flu is to get a flu shot as soon as possible. It usually takes about a month for the shot to work. Flu seasons usually start around the end of December, but, there have been people that have already gotten it this year. Unfortunately, there is no shot for colds.
- These infections are usually spread by close contact, either by touching, or being coughed or sneezed on. So we can minimize our exposures by avoiding groups of people who might be ill.
- Places with higher risk of contacting colds or flu are schools or daycares or any place where there are lots of people close together.
- Hand washing or using gel hand sanitizer can reduce the transmission of viruses.
- Babies and old people tend to be more severely affected by these viruses, so it is best to try to avoid exposing them.
- For mild illnesses, it’s best to rest, drink lots of fluids and stay away from other people.
- Over the counter cold and cough preparations are not recommended for children under 6 years old. They do not help anyway.
- Ibuprofen or acetaminophen may help for aches, pains and fever, but are not essential.
- See your doctor for very high fevers, difficulty breathing, bad pain, or anything that worries you.
- Occasionally a cold or flu can turn into something else such as a pneumonia, bronchitis or an ear infection. When this happens, there is usually a change in the cold, and it gets worse, like with a higher fever, or an ear ache.
- The virus usually goes away on its own, so any sickness lasting more than 2 weeks is worth checking into, even if things seem fine.
- If you think you have the flu, making an appointment to be checked and possibly receive some treatment might be advisable.
We hope everybody remains healthy this season, but we are ready to help out if you need us.
We’re so grateful to be able to bring you advice from the board certified physicians at Lakewood Pediatrics. If you have a question you’d like to see featured here, let us know! If you are in the Lakewood, University Place, or Tacoma area, they do have openings for new patients. All their providers are doctors, and they can usually see your child the same day. We think that’s especially important this time of year. For more infomation, visit their website or give them a call at 253-581-2111 We hope you thank them for sponsoring Sounds Fun Mom when you do!