The long Christmas break is a great time for families to bond. But sometimes disaster strikes; your child can still get sick. They can miss out on the season’s festivities, reunions, and Simbang Gabi. After all, diseases don’t take a vacation.
Fret not, because the key to ensuring your little one stays healthy or recovers quickly from fever is by planning and arming yourself with the right medicine and equipment. Here are 6 easy tips to help you prevent and manage a fever or flu at the start of the New Year.
Keeping your child healthy
- Family vaccinations help
The holidays are an especially hectic time with the numerous preparations and celebrations to think about. This sometimes can lead you to forgetting your kids’ vaccination. After all, we find no reason to see a doctor if your kid is not sick.
But children are generally more prone to catching the flu than adults. Your kids need to be protected so they need to be vaccinated. It’s also important that the rest of your family gets one too to ensure that the flu bug is contained.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends regular consultations with a doctor to get your family routine vaccinations . According to the Philippine Pediatric Society, the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines, and the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, children above 6 months old are encouraged to get influenza shots once per year . You should also get early vaccination as it takes about two weeks after the shot for your antibodies to develop .
- Practice good hygiene
During the Christmas break, your kid will be staying in close proximity with his peers. This makes it easy for germs and viruses to spread. Train them to form a habit of washing their hands frequently, especially when coming into contact with those who are sick5.
If any of your family members gets the cold of flu, it’s best to wear masks to prevent germs from spreading. Teach your children to cover their mouth or nose with tissue when sneezing or coughing and properly disposing them after5.
At home, clean and disinfect household objects and surfaces that may be contaminated with germs5. Don’t let your house from being a breeding ground for mosquitoes , :
Turn over water storage containers when empty and properly store these under a shelter
Change water in vases. Remove water from plant pot plates
Maintain roof gutters and remove debris or leaves to prevent pools of water forming
Managing fever symptoms on your own
- Identify and assess your child’s fever and discomfort level
Gauge your child’s symptoms when they have a fever. Children tend to vocalize fever differently depending on their age. It is important to not only observe changes in appearance but also behavior, such as loss of appetite.
One foolproof way to assess fever is to check your child’s temperature using a thermometer. The general rule of thumb is that temperatures above 38°C constitute a fever .
- Give your child paracetamol
If your child has a temperature above 38°C and is under 3 months old, it’s best to seek local medical attention immediately. If they are older, WHO recommends to give them paracetamol as first-line treatment .
Dr. Carmina A. delos Reyes, Pediatrician and Infectious Disease Specialist, explains that paracetamol is a trusted antipyretic among pediatricians and parents, as it is available over the counter and can safely be used across all ages. It works both as an analgesic or pain reliever, and antipyteric or fever controller.
To get the full benefits of paracetamol, administer the correct dose. Take your child’s weight and follow the recommended dosage as instructed in the product label. Also, use the dosing tool provided in the medicine package to reduce errors.
“Scientific evidence shows that when given at a dose of 15 mg/kg, paracetamol produces a larger relative temperature reduction compared to when given at 10 mg/kg. After 30 minutes, 15 mg/kg dose decreased body temperature by 0.71 °C, while 10 mg/kg reduced body temperature only by 0.36 °C,” says delos Reyes.
Paracetamol brand for kids Calpol provides the recommended dosage of WHO. With its 15mg/kg formulation, Calpol starts to work on fever in 15 minutes.
- Monitor your child’s progress at home
When do you send your sick child to school, especially if he/she is generally active or looks fine? As a rule of thumb, it’s best to let your child stay at home until the fever subsides to avoid passing on the flu to other children .
To help your child recover fast, ensure that he/she drinks plenty of fluids. Also, monitor their temperature using a thermometer and check for rashes or fatigue regularly. If fever persists, they can take paracetamol again every 4-6 hours but its should not exceed 4 times in a given day , , , .
- Take the child to the doctor when needed
Sometimes, you may fear for the worst and worry about your child contracting something far more serious than a normal fever. So here are common red flags to know when not to wait it out and already consult a local doctor 9:
Difficulty in breathing
Difficulty in swallowing
Lethargy, looks weak or pale, drowsiness, loss in appetite
Vomits persistently or frequent bouts of diarrhea
Suffers from stiff neck, persistent headache or light hurting the eyes
With these information and tips, you can stay at more at ease. Managing fever and flu after holidays will be a breeze.