Local News

Cold, Flu Season Is Here! Learn How To Protect Your Child

Posted February 4, 2002 3:22 a.m. EST

— If your child is sick, chances are you are playing Dr. Mom or Dr. Dad, but what medicines should you give? WRAL's Health Team has the how to's to surviving the cold and flu season.

Dr. Anita Martin asks her patients two questions a lot these days.

"Are you sick today? What's wrong with you?" she said.

As more kids come in sounding like five-year old Gary Johnson, it is proof that cold and flu season is here.

"I don't think it's peaked yet. This is the beginning," Martin said.

While fevers are alarming for parents, it does not necessarily mean a trip to the doctor.

"If your child has a temperature of 104-105 and is running around having a great time, I'm less concerned than a baby who's 101, lethargic and not doing anything," Martin said.

Pediatricians said the red flags are fevers that do not respond to medicine. If your child is vomiting, lethargic, has a persistent cough, severe headache, rash or looks uncharacterisically ill, they probably need to see a doctor.

If your child does not need to see the doctor, over-the-counter medications can help make your child feel better.

For fevers, doctors recommend acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Coughs need a cough suppressant. If they are congested, try a humidifier. If they have a runny nose, a decongestant may be helpful.

If you are unsure, experts said you should not hesitate to call your child's doctor.

"We do recommend that they give us a call and if they have difficulty deciding, we can help them in the process," Martin said.

For children under two years of age, you need to check with the doctor before using any medication. If your child is older and has a sore throat, there is always the tried-and-true salt water gargle. Doctors also recommend throat sprays, and if a child is congested, try raising the head of his or her bed just a bit with some books.