How to manage cold & flu in children?


E.C | Pharmacist

12/18/20222 min read

Cold & flu can easily affect children and sometimes if not treated well can lead to chest infections or other infective illnesses. This article will show you some tips on how to manage symptoms of cold & flu in children, what products are available over the counter to buy in pharmacy and red flag symptoms that each parents needs to look out.

woman in black long sleeve shirt holding white smartphone
woman in black long sleeve shirt holding white smartphone

Common cold & flu are viral infections mainly affecting the respiratory tract. As it can affect adults, it also affects babies and children. As a parent, it can be difficult to watch your child suffer from cold and flu symptoms. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help manage these symptoms and make your child more comfortable. 

Common symptoms of common cold & flu include:

  • elevated temperature, sometimes over 38 C

  • sore throat

  • cough either dry or chesty

  • headache

  • blocked/runny nose

  • sneezing

  • muscle pain

  • sinus pressure

If symptoms don't improve after 5 days, the child get a non-blanching rash, if the fever lasts for more than 5 days, child becomes dehydrated, child is unable to swallow, or is generally unwell, contact the doctor urgently or call 111 (England).

How to manage symptoms of common cold & flu in children:

    1. Encourage rest and hydration

    Rest is essential for a child's recovery from a cold or flu. Encourage your child to rest as much as possible, and provide a comfortable environment for them to sleep in. It is also important to keep your child hydrated by offering them plenty of fluids, such as water, clear broth, or fruit juice. Avoid offering sugary drinks or caffeinated beverages, as these can dehydrate your child.

    1. Use saline drops and a bulb syringe

    If your child has a stuffy nose, saline drops and a bulb syringe can help to clear their nasal passages. Saline drops can help to loosen mucus and make it easier for your child to breathe. To use a bulb syringe, first squeeze the bulb to expel any air, then gently insert the tip into your child's nostril and release the bulb to suction out the mucus. Repeat on the other nostril as needed.

    1. Use a cool-mist humidifier

    A cool-mist humidifier can help to relieve congestion and coughing in children. It adds moisture to the air, which can help to soothe your child's nasal passages and throat. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and maintenance to prevent the growth of bacteria or mold.

    1. Offer over the counter medications

    Over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help to reduce fever and relieve pain in children. Be sure to follow the dosing instructions carefully and avoid giving aspirin to children, as it can lead to a rare but serious condition called Reye's syndrome. Please consult with a pharmacist, or contact us for further information.

    1. Giving supplements to boost immunity 

    Supplements and vitamins can be very beneficial during a cold as well as taken daily. Vitamin C, D or multivitamins in general help to strengthen immunity and growth process.

    Before purchase, please check with the pharmacist or read the patient information leaflet (PIL) to check the age licensing, or when taking other medications or having other health conditions.