Tips to Fight with Cold and Flu - Causes, Symptoms
Created by Payal Updated on Aug 20, 2012
The season for illnesses is here. With the rains in full swing, water logging on the streets and sudden unannounced rain spells, the time is ripe for children to catch all kinds of viruses. Here are some tips to keep healthy and enjoy the rains this month.
Causes of Cold and Flu
Cold and flu are both caused by viruses and many different kinds at that. My doctor told me there are 250+ kinds of viruses that cause the common cold itself. And the way in which virus spreads is through touch or hand contact or through droplets from cough/sneezing. Flu, on the other hand, is caused by the influenza virus. There are three types of flu virus, A, B and C and new strains keep appearing each year, which makes it very difficult to gain immunity to flu. [Also Read: How to Be safe from Nipah Virus]
Who is Affected?
Almost anyone. Children who are at the stage where they go out and play or go to school are especially vulnerable as the virus spreads through objects we touch. However, there is no need to get panicky about this, as the more viruses a child is exposed to, the more her immune system develops and she gets stronger with time and will get less affected. The cold or rainy season is especially vulnerable as artificial cooling of air conditioners makes the nasal canal dry, making us more vulnerable. Rubbing some warm mustard oil on the chest, back, on and around the nose is very soothing and induces uninterrupted sleep, eucalyptus oil is also very helpful in keeping the nasal irritation down, a few drops of it on the pillow of the child and the child is instantly comforted. One could also keep the nasal passage lubricated by putting a layer of petroleum jelly with the help of an earbud. On the whole, the best option is to take some precautions so that one can avoid getting ill.
Cold & Flu Symptoms
The symptoms of the common cold are a stuffy and runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, coughing, fever which lasts up to 4 days. Cold itself can take more than a week to get better. Flu is usually characterized by high fever, chills, severe headache and pain in the muscles, loss of appetite, maybe blocked nose and coughing. It may include possible complications of pneumonia. It lasts for a week or more.
How to Treat
You cannot treat the cold, but you can treat the symptoms of a cold. One can take, vaporizers, rubs and steam vapors to ease symptoms like fever, blocked nose and cough. Excellent home remedies include basil leaves with honey, which works wonders for cough and stuffed nose.
Flu has similar treatments with lots of rest and constant ingestion of fluids, especially in children, to avoid dehydration. The answer for both cold and flu is plenty of rest, and lots of fluids to keep the child hydrated. Hot chicken or spinach soups work wonders. A diet which is rich in antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables and making sure that most of the food is of high nutrient content loaded with vitamins A, B, C and E ( 100 % orange Juice/ fresh orange Juice) is great for the child
Cold & Flu Complications
Some of the complications of flu are ear infections or pneumonia. It is normal for a fever to last up to 4 days when you can treat it with age-appropriate paracetamol. But if the fever persists it is important to see a pediatrician, or if your child complains of breathing difficulties, ear pain, congestion of face or head, persistent cough, or if your child seems to be getting worse.
Stay informed, stay healthy, and avoid situations where you have to wade in water to avoid water borne diseases. If the child gets drenched while returning from school or at the playground, the best thing is to run them a hot water bath and give them some warm milk. Give them nutritious food to keep their immunity up through the season and get ready for indoor games. But whatever happens, never forget to have fun.
Disclaimer: This blog is for information sharing only & in no way of a prescriptive nature. Parents should consult the Doctor before opting out for any medication for their child at all times.