When Your Kids Are Sick
When my kids are sick, I feel badly too. I wish that I could wave a magic wand and make their symptoms disappear. Or in the very least I wish I could give my children antibiotics to make their cold or flu disappear. However, did you know that antibiotics will not help your child’s cold, flu, or chest cold? Antibiotics only kill bacteria – not viruses and colds and flu are caused by viruses. Find out here what symptoms to look for when to keep your kids home from school. We’ll also discuss how to ease their symptoms, including the safest medicine to give them. We are Kaiser Permanente Orange County Ambassadors, all opinions are our own.
Colds, flu, and chest colds (bronchitis) in children are common. So common in fact that most children get 6 to 10 colds each year. With four young kids of my own, I have had my share of experiences with colds and the flu! It’s good to know that many sick children will begin to feel better within a week, however symptoms can last up to three weeks.
So When Do You Keep Your Kids Home From School?
Even if your child is feeling better within a week, viruses can last for up to 3 weeks. So when do you keep your kids home from school? We recently had the opportunity to speak with Kaiser Permanente physician Doctor Natasha West about this very subject.
Doctor Natasha West suggests that parents look for the following symptoms in children that would require them to stay home from school:
- If they require one-on-one attention or care
- If they’re not alert enough to play or learn
- Fevers over 100 degrees
- Until their fever (100.4 degrees F or higher) is gone for at least 24 hours without using a fever-reducing medicine
- They have rashes on their hands or feet
- The child has asthma and high wind/smoke is occuring
Furthermore, doctor Natasha West suggests parents put the following symptoms on their radar of an impending illness: Fever, Low-grade fever, Tired, Complaining, Wheezing/Difficulty Breathing, Refuse to Eat, Coughing, Body Aches, Diarrhea, Sore Throat, Headache with Sore Throat.
The Signs of Feigned Illness
If you have older kids then you know about the “feigned illness” epidemic. The symptoms of a feigned illness are sudden headaches, nauseous and other stomach related illnesses. Perhaps these sudden symptoms occur because your child is avoiding something at school, or perhaps these symptoms occur because it’s their bodies response to anxiety and stress. Regardless of the reason, it’s probably a good idea to have a talk with your child about the things that are bothering them. My oldest son is in the 5th grade and recently had some friend trouble. He asked on several occasions to stay home from school because his stomach was upset. I knew he was trying to avoid the trouble at school and instead of complying with his request I offered a few suggestions on how to deal with friend problems (because goodness knows I’ve had my share of friend problems through the years).
How To Ease Their Cold & Flu Symptoms
Rest, fluids, and time are the best treatments for colds and flu. Be extremely cautious about giving over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. Instead, try to give your child lots of fluids, make sure your child gets plenty of rest and try to stick to quiet activities – it’s a great time for a movie day! Above all else, use cough and cold medicines with caution. Cough and cold medicines only treat the symptoms of the common cold such as runny nose, congestion, fever, aches, and irritability. They do not cure the cold. Humidifiers work wonders to loosen congestion and don’t forget to get lots of rest (with or without your kitten) and to drink lots of fluids!
The flu surge
You may have heard that we’re experiencing one of the worst flu seasons in Southern California to date. With a large number of people with flu-like symptoms Kaiser Permanente Orange County is experiencing long waits in some of their emergency rooms, Urgent Care clinics, and on the phone. You can go to the appointment page to make medical appointments, or go to flu information to view frequently asked flu questions, health guidelines, and symptoms. You can also visit one of Kaiser Permanente Orange Counties Target Clinic locations without an appointment.