Thank you for coming to Just Answer with your child's health question. I have three children myself and understand your concern. It's typical for a child with the flu to be sick for three to four days, seem better for a day or two, and then get sick for another few days.Be on your guard against misleading morning temperatures. Body tem-perature tends to be lower in the morning. So a child who registers 99° after breakfast may have a fever of 102° in the afternoon. Your child should maintain a normal temperature for 24 hours before you let them go back to school.
Compared to a cold, the flu can bring major league misery to your child. Influenza--the medical name for the flu--is caused by a virus, just like the common cold. And many of the symptoms are similar--cough, runny nose, sore throat and fever. But if your child has the flu, she'll be much, much sicker.
There are three different influenza viruses--types A, B and C--but which-ever strain your child catches, she's in for a rough time. A fever will zap them on day one and may last for an entire week. Along with the upper respiratory symptoms, they'll have chills and shakes, a ''wiped-out'' feeling, muscle aches and pains and reddened eyes. Some kids, especially infants, also have vomiting or diarrhea.
Ear infection, sinusitis or pneumonia may follow in the wake of influenza, but these secondary infections can be treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately, the flu cannot be stopped this way. (Antibiotics are useless against viruses.) Prescription anti-viral medications such as amantadine have been found helpful in shortening the duration of Influenza A, but their use is limited. To be effective, they must be given within 20 hours after the flu symptoms appear.
In most cases, all you can do for your flu-stricken child is to try and make life a little more bearable. You won't be able to take away all their symptoms, but you can alleviate some of them. Here's how.
Treat the fever, but only if it's high. If your child is really miserable because of aches and fever, acetaminophen (Children's Tylenol) is the treat-ment of choice. Check the package directions for the correct dose for your child's age and weight.
Raise the humidity. A cool-mist vaporizer placed near your child's bed can help make nasal secretions more free-flowing so your child breathes more comfortably,
Quiet those coughs in the night. If your child's cough is harsh and bothersome, give a nonprescription cough syrup containing dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant.
Replenish lost fluids. Kids tend to lose a lot of fluid with a fever, and even more if there is vomiting. So you should push fluids by offering your child a choice of things to drink. We adults tend to offer things that make us feel better. But what seems good to you may not appeal to your child. Children's taste buds are more sensitive than ours. So when they are ill, they tend to want really bland things without a lot of flavor or odor.
Serve some light bites. Your child won't have much of an appetite, but it is important to keep his blood sugar level up so that he'll have less tired-ness, vomiting, headache and fussiness. Think in terms of small carbohydrate snacks: miniature marshmallows, crackers, dry toast, plain bread. The snacks should be fat-free so that they're easily digested.
Give extra TLC. When their feeling bad, your child will appreciate having some special attention from you.Sit down and play a quiet game together, read a book, sing or cuddle your child if they find it comforting.
I hope your child gets well soon.
Best of Luck!