Treating children's colds and flu

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Treating children's colds and flu
Treating children's colds and flu

In addition to having to be vigilant and attentive to the symptoms of Covid-19, parents are not spared from colds and the flu in winter. Here are some tips for treating your sick little ones.


Most of us will have at least one cold or flu during the winter, and children are twice as likely as adults, with 5 to 7 colds and flus per year. Why? Because they do not have the necessary knowledge to avoid the spread of viruses, they rub shoulders at daycare and give each other kisses and hugs, without being aware of the dangers. Because they are small and their immune systems are still developing, they are also more vulnerable to complications from colds or flu.

It's never too early to teach a child the rules of he althy living that will help protect them from the nasty cold and flu viruses. Explain to him the importance of washing his hands well several times a day and show him how. Adopt a he althy diet which will have the advantage of protecting him from infections.

What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

Many parents feeldifficulty telling the difference between a cold and the flu. Both are a viral infection, but the common cold is much more common (and less debilitating) than the flu.

The Cold

  • Congested and runny nose. Secretions may be slightly tinted, especially in the morning, greenish-yellow in color.
  • The virus is limited to the respiratory tract.
  • Sore throat, slight cough.
  • There may be a slight fever (less than 39 C).
  • Lasts about a week.

The Flu

  • General state of weakness and fatigue.
  • High fever (over 39 C).
  • Congested and runny nose with colored secretions (changing from yellow to green) at all times.
  • Sore throat, heavy cough.
  • Sore muscles.
  • Lasts at least 10 days, can last up to 2 weeks.

Why not use antibiotics to treat colds and flu?

We spoke to Dr. Marie-Claude Quintal, otolaryngologist at Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center, who reminds us that cold and flu viruses are not treated with antibiotics, and that their use might even cause unnecessary trouble or worry.

She advises parents to use supportive treatments; that is to say, treatments that relieve the symptoms of the virus while letting it evolve naturally. She was kind enough to share her advice to help parentstreat their toddlers at home!

Over-the-Counter Treatments

For sore throat and fever

To relieve pain and discomfort caused by sore throat and fever, Dr. Quintal recommends using ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If the fever is high and your child suffers from it, it is possible to alternate between ibuprofen (which must be given every 6 to 8 hours) and acetaminophen (which must be given every 4 hours) for the first 24 hours in order to relieve him further.

For nasal congestion

To relieve nasal congestion, decongestants that contain Oxymetazoline 0.05 can be given. For children two years and older, 2-3 drops of the product (for example, Otrivin) are put in their nose for the entire cold period (5-7 days). For older children, spray products (such as Dryxoral) are used instead and 2 to 3 sprays per nostril, once a day.

Dr Quintal explains that it is also possible to give an antihistamine such as Réactine or Claritin when the child is very congested and a classic decongestant does not work. Obviously, before doing so, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice. As with all other over-the-counter medications, it is important to respect the prescribed times and dosages according to age.

Home remedies and natural products

If you prefer to treat your family's cold or fluchild in a more natural way, there are several solutions for you.

Blow your nose

It may sound trivial, but children should normally blow their nose at least twice a day (morning and evening). When they are sick, it is recommended to double up, that is, to ask the child to blow their nose a minimum of 4 times a day in order to get rid of infected secretions. For the youngest, we use a baby fly.

Nasal Irrigation

Nasal irrigation consists of cleaning the airways with s alt water. For the youngest, there are products in the form of drops or a low-jet spray (hydraSense, Salinex, etc.). For the older ones, it's more like nasal sprays or cleaning bottles (hydraSense, SinusRinse, NetiRinse, etc.). A little homemade trick from Dr. Quintal: you can make your own s altwater mixture using 3 cups of water, 1 tbsp. table s alt and ¼ tsp. baking soda. You boil this mixture for 10 minutes and keep it cool in a glass Mason jar. The mixture will keep for 1 week and you just have to run it into your child's nostrils using a sterilized syringe or a bottle of nasal bath.


A sick child, especially when he has fever, can become dehydrated quickly, which can worsen his general condition. It is therefore important to keep him well hydrated by offering him liquidsregularly. Vary the liquids according to their desire so that they are more receptive. You can offer water or an oral rehydration solution, such as Pediatric Electrolyte for example. If your child eats very little, you can also offer him milkshake, yogurt or ice cream so he can rehydrate and get protein at the same time.


It doesn't cost anything and a child who sleeps well will have an easier time getting he althy!

Mom's crush for life

Fewer colds, sore throats, and ear infections in your buds is possible

This year more than ever, as a mom, my priority is to prepare my little loves for the arrival of cold season. From the end of August, we added a weapon of choice in the morning routine: HelixiaMDEnfants Natural DefenseMD.

The active ingredient in Helixia®Children's Natural Defense®is pleuran. This helps to significantly reduce the frequency of colds by 40% and ear infections by 60%. The lightly sweetened syrup in a natural way will appeal to young children and is safe for our cocos aged between 3 and 10 years.

Add Helixia®Kids Natural Defense®to your morning routine now.

Available in pharmacies and online.

Cold and flu prevention tips

  • Get a hydrometer that you can place in theyour child. It is recommended to keep the room temperature between 19 and 20 degrees Celsius and the humidity between 35 and 50.
  • Do not keep more than one stuffed animal in the child's bedroom, since stuffed animals pick up dust easily. Wash stuffed animals once every 6 months, minimum.
  • Choose a good pillow made of synthetic fibres. Avoid feather pillows.
  • Avoid putting a rug in the child's room.
  • If you have pets, keep them out of your room and vacuum more regularly.

When to consult?

If your child's cold or flu lasts longer than normal and their symptoms increase or come back, this is a sign that there is a superinfection. Since 5 to 10% of colds end in acute sinusitis or otitis, and flu that does not go away can progress to pneumonia or respiratory illness, it is important to consult a doctor if your child's general condition tumbles despite all your good care.

Does your baby have a cold? Read our article Treating Baby's Cold for age-appropriate tips!


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