Cold and flu season is in full swing. Every time I log into Facebook or Twitter I see posts of another poor soul down for the count. I managed to avoid picking up any bugs before I got my annual flu shot so I’m hopeful that I will once again have a relatively smooth winter. Unfortunately, my daughter’s flu shot was postponed several times as she dealt with various bugs that she picked up from daycare. She finally got through all of that and is now vaccinated as well. She has asthma and since the flu is a respiratory illness it’s a must for her.
So, despite your best efforts – diligent hand washing, sanitizing, taking care of yourself – those nasty germs have managed to get a hold on you. Now you have it but the question is – what is it?
Of course there are a lot of other viruses and infections out there but the cold (which actually covers several viruses) and the flu are the most comment, especially this time of year. The treatment for all of these bugs are essentially the same and rely on your common sense. Get lots of sleep, drink plenty of fluids, use ibuprofen or acetaminophen to treat fevers and aches (never give asprin to anyone with a fever under the age of 20) and stay home. There are some medications that can ease cold symptoms for older kids and adults. Cold medication should not be given to children under the age of six. Humidifiers or hanging out in a steamy bathroom can help stuffy noses and dry coughs.
Although identifying the virus you or someone in your family has might not do much in the way of relieving symptoms they can give you an idea of how long you might be under the weather and what complications to watch for. Colds generally clear up much quicker than the flu and don’t produce much in the way of complications for otherwise healthy people. Gastrointestinal infections are usually fairly short lived as well but taking care to keep yourself or your little one hydrated is very important. Flu symptoms can last for weeks (especially a cough) and can cause more serious complications (pneumonia, dehydration, heart problems, etc.) especially in kids under six, seniors and those with other health issues.
Has the cold or flu bug made it’s way to your home yet?