It’s a situation every parent dreads. Your little one is sick. He has the flu. All of the symptoms are there: Fever, aches, stuffy nose, fatigue, and sudden onset. You’re considering giving him something to make him feel better, but the best flu medicine for kids may not come in pill or liquid form.
Your (and your kids’) best defense against influenza is always a flu shot. The vaccine is safe for anyone 6 months and older. You can also teach them the importance of washing their hands frequently. It’s a good way to keep from picking up and spreading the flu virus, especially during flu season.
But if you could not prevent the flu from invading your home, you need a plan to get your child back on the road to recovery. So, here’s what many experts consider to be the best flu medicine for kids.
Antiviral drugs must be prescribed by a doctor — they are not available over the counter. Your child may get one if your doctor thinks he may have a complication from the flu. They stop the virus from reproducing, so it can’t spread.
Antiviral drugs for children come in the form of pills, liquid or an inhaler. They work best if your child gets them in the first two days of getting sick. They may even shorten the flu by one or two days. In some cases, they can prevent it.
Over-The-Counter Flu Medicines
Adults can take cold, cough and flu medications—no problem. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends against children under age 4 taking over-the-counter cold and cough medications.
If your child has a fever or symptoms of a cold and is under age 4, call their pediatrician to determine if you need to give any medication and how much.
Sometimes the best flu medicine for kids is no medicine at all. If your child has a fever, remember that it’s helping his body fight the infection and does not always need to be treated.
But if your child is uncomfortable the USDA recommends these alternatives to cough and cold medicine, including:
- A clean cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier to moisten the air and decrease the drying of the nasal passages and throat.
- Use saline or saltwater drops/spray to moisten the nasal passages and loosen the mucus and clean the nose with a bulb syringe.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help reduce fever, aches and pains. Take care to use the correct dose.
You can also try placing a cool, wet towel on your child’s forehead.
A fever can dehydrate your little one, so be sure to give your child plenty of fluids, too. Water is great, but if they’re looking for a little flavor you can try things like:
- sports drinks
- flat white soda
Speaking of sleep, let him. Rest is great flu medicine for kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends not waking a sleeping child to give them fever medication. Sleep is very important to the healing process.
There are situations when you should call your Pediatrician about their fever. But in general, as long as they’re comfortable, you can let nature run it’s course.
There are many precautions you can take to prevent feeling this year’s flu symptoms. It starts with scheduling an appointment to get vaccinated.
If you're looking for more tips on how to avoid the flu, download our free guide: “How To Get Rid of the Flu or Not Get It At All.”