Preparing for Cold and Flu Season

 In Child care, Parents
Mother and daughter taking temperature

Cold and flu season can be challenging, especially when you have little ones. The early years are when your child builds up resistance, and a strong immune system. Catching colds, flus and other common illnesses is a natural and inevitable part of this resilience building process.

A healthy diet, exercise and adequate sleep will all help build a healthy immune system to support your child through times of illness. When the common cold strikes, a little extra care and common sense will see you through.

But flus can be dangerous and require a different approach. So how can you tell the difference?


Cold, Flu or Something Else?

There are so many variables in a child’s state of being even in one day. The metabolism of a small child is fast, and this means they can process things quickly. Raised temperatures or stomach upsets can happen suddenly through passing sensitivities to foods or things in the environment, only to disappear again.  These symptoms are not caused by viruses or infections, and this differentiates them from colds and flus.

Observing your child’s reactions enables you to create a reference point for what is normal. It also helps to better judge when they are truly out of sorts. The most common illnesses your child will experience are simple colds. These are caused by viruses and there are countless varieties of them. Pathogens enter the body usually through fluid exchange such as molecules in the air, touch, or shared food and toys. The pathogens create an immune response as the body tries to fight the intrusion. The immune system responding is what creates the symptoms, and why we have to just see it through.

The common cold usually presents with the following symptoms;

  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands
  • Muscle aches
  • Raised temperature
  • Headache
  • Increased mucous and stuffy nose
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

Sometimes, children could be harbouring a cold without you knowing, they may have a sore throat or headache but be unable to or simply neglect to tell you.

Until they present with mucous, vomiting or a noticeable temperature, the main indication may just be irritability. Staying connected to your child will help you to pick up when they are more than just a little bit tired. If you feel they have a cold coming, support them by doing the following:

  • Keep them hydrated.
  • Keep them warm.
  • Reduce sugar, it burdens the immune system.
  • Reduce stress and increase quiet time.
  • Create bonding time for emotional support.
  • Offer nourishing easily digestible foods such as soups, some fruits, and fresh juices. Appetite may be reducing so try to get some nutrients in where possible.
  • Administer Panadol to help with sleep and reduce fever.
  • Use a Vaporiser to help with respiratory symptoms at night.

They should be well enough to carry on with their usual activities during the day with a bit of extra rest time.


When it’s Influenza

Flu is more serious. Caused by influenza type A, B or C it will cause higher temperatures, vomiting, chills, aches, fatigue, tummy ache, and can lead to chest infection, ear infection or pneumonia.

It is important to keep a close eye on your little one when they have the flu. Reduce pain using Panadol, and Nurofen can be used if there is inflammation.


Can I send my child to child care? 

Ask your childcare centre to provide a guide to specific illnesses and its policy around child illness. To speak to an educator about policies at Hamersley Early Learning School, or to enrol your child, contact us today.

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Children in pre schoolChildren playing outdoors in winter