Terrified of the flu? Here's what to do.

Written by: Jasmine Jafferali

How to treat and prevent the flu in kids

To keep your family healthy during the rest of the winter season, it’s important to keep our immune systems in tip-top shape. Here are some ways to keep your immune system boosted so those colds and flus don’t get you down.

Know what works and what doesn’t. First, understand that antibiotics are ineffective against the flu because influenza is a virus. Medications that are not effective against the flu can cause more harm than good, especially to our gut health. What do you do if you or your child is home sick with the flu?

Tried-and-true remedies. The most effective ways to treat the flu include rest and consuming fluids. Taking out sugar and dairy can be helpful as sugar suppresses immunity up to six hours after ingesting. This makes our immune system work harder, thus taking longer to rid the cold and flu. This is just a short phase, but definitely helpful to speed up the process. Using humidifiers to add moisture into the air and diffusing essential oils both will help ease congestion by opening up the airways.

Draw a bath. Soak in an Epsom salt bath before you reach for an expensive over-the-counter drug. This naturally-occurring mineral will ease muscle aches, improve circulation and reduce the length of symptoms as well as help you get a good night’s rest, so you can recover faster. Some doctors say it helps spur the cellular rejuvenation process called vasodilation, which can in turn speed healing by detoxifying your body, combating the illness faster. Children under 60 lbs can soak in a bath of ½ cup of salts; over 60 lb can add another ½ cup. Adding 5-10 drops of lavender to the salt bath also has a calming effect: it can help ease body aches, enhance blood circulation, promote relaxation and ease upper respiratory distress.

Go (coco)nuts. Another natural way to fend off the flu and stay healthy this winter is to drink raw coconut water. Coconut water help builds your immune system and makes it stronger by cleaning your body of bacteria. It’s also anti-fungal and anti-viral, and is a great source of electrolytes needed to replenish the body. Plus, it’s cheaper and healthier to buy raw coconut water than Pedialyte.

Take prevention measures. Be courteous of others and help curb the spread of flu. Wash hands often, using the proper technique (wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry). Anti-bacterial soaps and gels just don’t cut it and, in fact, the FDA says: “they do little or nothing to make soap work any better,” and the industry has failed to prove they’re safe.

Eat foods high in vitamin C. They help the body produce collagen, which promotes the body’s natural healing process. Foods with the highest vitamin C levels? Camu camu berries, kiwis, red/green peppers, and guavas.

Take vitamin D. Some studies show that a deficiency increases your risk for colds and flus. As Chicago sees the full sun about 84 days out of the year, we need some extra vitamin D. My pediatrician recommends 2000 iu/ day for children.

Jasmine Jafferali, MPH, is a lifestyle and wellness expert. She lives in the West Loop with her husband and two kids, Lilly (9) and Luke (6). When she’s not busy helping others feel well, Jasmine enjoys reading, being with her family and drinking a good glass of red wine.

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The NPN blog gives voice to our members' thoughts about parenting in the city, and the views expressed don't necessarily reflect our own. Want to write for us? Email laura@npnparents.org with your topic ideas.


Posted on January 31, 2018 at 3:16 PM