All About Colds & Flu. Fact Vs. Fiction. You & Your Kids! Getting Well Sooner.
All About Colds & Flu. Fact Vs. Fiction. You & Your Kids! Getting Well Sooner.
My little sicklettes are 22 months, 3 weeks, & 5 days old.
We are in the of the brunt of the Winter cold and flu season. Now that I can sit up long enough to type a few words as I myself are in the midst of a horrible flu, I feel it’s important to talk about some of the facts vs. the untruths about colds and flu, and ways to help keep you and your children safe from this horrific mess we call ‘illness’. Or at least protect everyone as best you can.
Here we go!
You can’t really ever stop a cold or flu, but you can lessen your risks of catching them by:
1) Staying away from heavily congested places which carry large amounts of germs.
This is close to impossible with kids. Their schools are always dripping with germs as is, but outside of school you can limit their exposure to such places as best you can without cutting off all sources of fun.
2) Get a flu shot.
This is something I personally have not done since the Swine Flu outbreak, in which I was pregnant during. I’m nervous about the shot, but guess what? Me and my kids had no shot and we are all sick. Hub had the shot and he’s sitting pretty. Hm…I figured if it doesn’t protect from all strains why bother, but I see first hand it can help, and is likely a good thing. It’s best to get the shot, I realize now.
3) Vitamin C.
Vitamin C has sometimes been said to be able to ward off illness altogether. It only makes sense to have an ample amount of it in your diet before you are sick, and if you get sick.. during your illness. It might help you get better faster, and maybe not even get sick at all if you are lucky. That one is still out for debate.
You can also get some of your source of vitamin C through your daily multi-vitamin. Be forewarned though, too much Vitamin C is NOT a good thing. You want to take it only in amounts 2,000mg or under per day.
4) Rest up, and we aren’t talking only when sick here.
Evidence shows that people who get, (I’m sure children are included here), 8 or more hours of solid sleep at night have stronger immune systems, and get sick less frequently. New moms are most susceptible to illness because of small amounts of broken sleep they get, and not taking care of one’s self enough to eat much, or eat healthy when they do eat. I remember it well.
Just be sure during the flu season to attempt to get more rest. New moms do sleep when the babies sleep, as any sleep is better then none. It really does help. Those who sleep 7 or less hours per night are more susceptible to cold and flu viruses.
Once you are sick, what can you do? (Your kids included.)
1) Don’t forget to keep eating.
Sometimes you do lose your appetite while sick, and kind of need to force yourself to eat. Be sure you do so. It’s not a myth, good food does help you build up strength. Make sure to eat foods rich in protein, iron, and vitamin C. Starving a cold? WRONG! Food gives you energy. How can you ward off illness and handle motherhood without that? You can’t!
2) Drink Up. I don’t care how sore your throat is.
It’s easy to neglect this while ill and get dehydrated because of it. Last time I had a bad flu like this which was 1 flu season back, I got so severely dehydrated I couldn’t swallow, take a deep breath, my lips were shriveled, and I couldn’t even blink. I had no idea what was happening, and started to panic making my heart race.
I ended up in the ER getting my body pumped with fluids due to severe dehydration that in a day or two more could have ended my life, so it’s serious. Feel bad or not, put your lips to the glass and drink. Make sure your children always do the same. If they don’t like water, Gatorade is a fabulous, sweeter-tasting option.
3) Go to the doctor.
Doctors usually won’t prescribe anything for a regular cold or flu like they did when we were children, however you never know if the virus or bacterial infection you are trying to ward off is a common cold as you may think. In some cases it may warrant medication, like in the case of Strep Throat. (This particular illness bares an extremely red throat you can visualize, and extreme cold symptoms.) Bad conditions can occur from that without proper treatment. Do not ignore.
See your doctor and if you and your children are within the first 48 hours of your cold or flu, there might be something the doctor can give you to lessen the duration and severity of it. After that you’re forced to ride it out the whole way through.
4) Sleeping out a cold or flu.
Sleep won’t get rid of a cold altogether, but it helps you get through it seemingly faster, and in reality helps your body get through it faster to. The reason you feel so run down and tired when ill, is because your body is fighting a massive battle inside of your immune system. It takes up all of the strength it can muster, including your own normal energy and strength. You feel lazy and weak.
Sleep has a restorative effect. Sleep hormones are released that help you battle your way out of those wretched cold and flu symptoms. Sleep might just get you feeling much better…faster. SO SLEEP! Mom, call on help if you need some. I couldn’t even imagine feeling the way I do right now and being all on my own.
5) Take your at-home, over the counter remedies.
You know the ones purchased at the local drug store. These don’t cure a cold, but they definitely help make you more comfortable while going through it. Cough drops and syrups will ease soreness and calm coughs. Tylenol helps with fever, aches, and pains. Chloraseptic is great for scratchy, painful throats. You’ll need lots of soft tissues, etc. These things won’t make the problem go away, but will help see you through in the kindest way possible. Stay in, and follow the advice above.
** Important- Oh, and when you and your kids are sick don’t go into public places and infect others. I get really upset when I go somewhere and kids are hacking up a lung, coughing all around me and my own, completely sick as dogs. This enrages many moms, myself included, so please don’t do it yourself. Have courtesy for others, and wait until it passes over.**
Cold myths. What’s true & what is not?
1) Being out in the cold gets you sick.
MYTH! You have always heard that you can catch a cold by being outside in the cold, say running out without your jacket on, or perhaps while out shoveling snow. FALSE! This you will hear time and again, but let’s bury the hatchet, it has been proven to be a myth. Tell your grandmothers. (They might not listen though. I have tried.)
2) Starve a cold.
MYTH! No one really knows where this myth exactly came from, but it’s been around for generations. There is no basis for this. The body needs food for nourishment, especially in times of physical woe. Never deprive a sick body of it’s much needed nutrients. Again, also remember to drink up to. (Not wine .)
3) Chicken soup cures a cold.
MYTH! It’s not a cure all, but it definitely has some benefits. It soothes an ailing throat, and it loosens up clogged nasal passages and breaks up chest secretions. This can also be achieved through tea with honey, a hot steamy shower, or any hot liquids really.
Chicken soup does have one other benefit through that helps improve cold symptoms. It not only replaces lost fluids during illness, but also lost salt, which the body needs during times of infection. So definitely don’t push away that warm bowl of soup that is being offered to you.
4) Sweat out a cold.
MYTH! Chances are you could be feeling sweaty already. No need to be a further liquidy mess. I’ve been getting hot and cold, hot and cold, fever and chills, which is indicative of the flu. You don’t want to add extreme heat to an illness. The moisture loss can help lead to dehydration which you are already more at risk for. Your throat is sore, body weak, you don’t feel like drinking anything or doing anything at all, but you must drink, especially when you sweat.
A fever is caused by your body to help ward off an aggressive infection. There is absolutely no benefit to being over-heated and sweaty while this battle is taking place. Unless the chills are present, a nice cold cloth on the head or under the neck feels much more pleasant, and between that and your over the counter medications, your fever should be reduced.
How can you tell between a cold and the flu?
(Here’s a chart to go by for your little ones.)
In children it’s even a bit harder to tell. Adults, unlike children, usually have colds without any fever, while with kids a fever can be present in both colds and flu. Many of the symptoms are quite the same. A flu is usually more intense. (As well I know), but still can be tricky. My first clue as an adult is my fever. (Cold fevers rarely go above 101 degrees F.)
***FLU AND ASPRIN WARNING: 102.7 is the highest I have seen from me in a decade, until now. As a child I always ran very high fevers. A flu could easily give me a 106.7. I developed the rare and deadly virus called Reye’s Syndrome while being treated with Aspirin during the flu which NEVER should be done in children, even if a flu is even remotely suspected. I nearly died and reached just over 108 degrees F in my fever. Basically, unheard of.
I was not expected to live, and then was not expected to survive with full brain and organ function. Here I am, but that was the big man himself. A true miracle. You have to be very careful with aspirin and colds in children and teens. Even though rare if it can happen to me, it can happen to your own children. Though not as deadly now as it once was, it’s still a very serious and possibly fatal condition.**
(I had to add that based on past experience.)
2) Chills and body aches.
Though these can be present during the common cold, most of the time if you suffer severe body aches and the hot/cold chattery feeling of sweats and chills, it’s usually more then a cold. Take care as if it is the flu and follow the given advice above. There is no cure all, but there are things you can do to feel more comfortable.
3) The flu usually lasts longer
While colds can knock you down for days to a week at best, the flu can knock you down a week, maybe more. 2+ (Dear God!)
Usually a cold doesn’t involve a headache and not always does a flu, but frequently it can. I happen to have one myself. Another indication I do not have the common cold.
5) Severe fatigue.
You may feel run down a bit with a cold but not to the extent of a flu. A flu will knock you down and you just can’t seem to get back up again. My babies usually run through colds, but they seem much more tired and lazy then usual right now. FLU!
The flu makes you feel like you don’t want to leave bed. You just don’t want to DO anything. I can usually manage through my cold, especially after a day or two. This is day 6 and I’m still battling as hard as ever, if not harder.
Regardless of whether you and your kids are at home miserable with the cold virus or the true flu take heart..it will pass. Remember to always wash your hands before and after any public activity where you come into contact with others. Make sure your children know to practice this even when you are not around because when they get sick..we ALL get sick. Carry hand sanitizer on you when you are out and about, as well. Proper hygiene really does help.
Get rest, keep your child out of school and away from others during times of fever. Make sure everybody eats and drinks despite a disappearing appetite. And do call a doctor with any further questions, or simply when in doubt, especially with newborns and infants.
*Twin moms remember*
Try as you might, it is virtually impossible to keep one twin from getting the others’ illness. I have tried so many times before, thought I succeeded, only to be highly disappointed in the end. It isn’t your fault. They will find a way to share a nookie or bottle, or sippy cup behind your back.
Plus, germs are everywhere inside the home once someone is ill. You can’t work miracles, and that is what it would take. (That or a trip to Africa with the healthy twin.) Just expect it, and know it has NOTHING to do with you!
Good luck! We’ll get through it. Hopefully, only once this year!