Folks, cold and flu season is upon us. The reality is, as ALL of you know or should know, that these are viral illness that need to resolve themselves. Antibiotics do absolutely nothing. Don’t bank on the vaccine either. That is a “hit-or-miss” proposition. I know they make you or your child not feel well. In fact, the flu makes you feel like you have been run over by a train with the headache, fever, muscle aches, cough, and a runny nose. It generally does you no good to bring your child in for these kinds of symptoms because you will get the same answer, “it is the flu, drink lots of water, lots of rest, ibuprofen for aches.” I don’t use antivirals unless there is underlying serious medical issues like cystic fibrosis or congenital heart disease. Here is the AAP recommendations for antivirals… this is a good one to follow except for the last option…
“Treatment indications — Decisions regarding treatment of influenza in children must consider underlying conditions, disease severity, and duration of symptoms [6,7]. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provide the following indications for antiviral treatment [7,69]:
●Any child hospitalized with presumed influenza
●Children with confirmed or suspected influenza who have severe, complicated, or progressive illness
●Influenza infection of any severity in children at high risk for complications (table 1), regardless of influenza-immunization status
●Any otherwise-healthy child with influenza infection for whom a decrease in duration of clinical symptoms is felt to be warranted by his or her provider (particularly if treatment can be initiated within 48 hours of illness onset)
For most previously healthy children, influenza is a mild and self-limiting infection [1-3]. Unnecessary treatment of such children, even when they present early in the course of illness, has the potential effect of resulting in a diminished supply of drugs for patients at risk for severe illness. In addition, indiscriminate treatment may contribute to the development of antiviral resistance.”
So, really, best to stay home and out of the office (I don’t want you to catch something else!!!). As we have discussed before, there are things you CAN do, however, besides the obvious rest and fluids. We have presented good research on use of Vit D3 and Zinc, if I remember. Still working on giving you data on Vit C and myco-immune helpers. BTW, for teens, something like Theraflu or Dayquil/Nyquil can help make them feel better but these are not safe for kids younger than teens. So, here is my summary of things to stock up on and get started right away at first onset of the sniffles:
1. Vit D3: Age 1-6 months give enhanced dose of 800 u daily until well then back down to 400 u daily.
Age 6-24 months 2000 u daily until well then 1000 u daily.
Age 2-4 yrs 3000 u daily until well then 1500 u daily
Age 4-6 yrs 5000 u daily for 3-5 days then 2000 u daily through winter months
Age 6-10 yrs 7500 u daily for 3-5 days then 2500 u daily through winter
Age 11-teen yrs 10000 u daily for 3 days then 5000 u daily through winter months
2. Zinc: only use for couple weeks during illness
Age 1-6 months: 10 mg daily
Age 6-24 months: 15 mg daily
Age 2-10 yrs: 25 mg daily
Age 11-teens: 50 mg daily
3. Vit C: can be used during illness and for prevention
For the really little guys use the Garden of Life MyKind spray.
Age 1-6 months: 1 spray 4X daily during illness then 1 spray daily
Age 6-24 months: 3 sprays 4X daily during illness then 3 sprays daily
Age 2-4 yrs: 4 sprays 4X daily during illness then 4 sprays daily
Age 5 and above: 5 sprays 4X daily during illness then 5 sprays daily.
For older kids, you can get oral Vit C and actually give anywhere from 1000-5000 mg daily or until you get diarrhea, then back off on the dose to a firmer stool.
4. Kids Immune Avenger (this is the myco- immune booster)
Under 25 lb: 2-3 drops 3-5X daily during illness
Over 25 lb: follow the label instructions; they are laid out nicely.
This is taking the place of the Kickit Immune due to taste issues. The Kickit has alcohol as an extractor and the Avenger has vegetable glycerin and distilled water. (actually tastes good!)
5. One of you had suggested adding Elderberry. This is an excellent addon to your “sick kit”. Follow instructions on the package for this.
6. fever control: preferably do this with a warm bath as will not suppress immune function. Both ibuprofen and acetaminophen suppress immunity and may make symptoms last longer. Use them only if fever is over 103F and not responding to bath. Remember, fever stimulates your child’s immune function to ramp up and fight the invader. You don’t want to knock out the legs out from under it as it tries to fight. Don’t be afraid of fever. We have been way “over-conditioned” toward “feverphobia”.
As a preventive to hopefully keep the kids healthy through the winter, follow the following:
a. teach them to wash hands frequently
b. use alcohol based hands cleansers frequently; have them all over the house and at school
c. teach them to cough into their elbow
d. teach them to avoid touching their face with their hands (this is the most important preventive!!)
e. stay hydrated through cold winter months
f. eat a generally healthful diet, avoiding sugar and sugar drinks. These suppress immune function.
g. daily Vit D3, Vit C, and something called Mycoshield 1-3 sprays into mouth twice daily depending on age: 1 spray for 6-24 mo, 2 spray 2-5 yrs, and 3 sprays over age 6 yrs. (twice daily)
So, when SHOULD you bring your child in? Here is a partial list of things for which to watch…
1. breathing rate elevated, especially when not feverish. This could indicate pneumonia. Fever will elevate respiratory rate, so wait until fever is down. Count them with a second hand watch. If it is over 40’s or 50’s, then we need to listen to that chest.
2. urinating less then once daily and you cannot get fluids down. Dehydration may be the issue and an IV may be in order.
3. fever over 105F that is not coming down. This may indicate a secondary bacteremia (bacteria in the blood).
4. lethargy that is there even when fever comes down. Most kids are floppy when they are feverish. When there is lethargy when fever is not there, then it may be something as benign as muscle aches but could be more serious like meningitis. If your child can perk up even for 1/2 an hour, this is NOT meningitis. Meningitis does not act like that. It progressively and rapidly gets worse. There are NO “perk-up” episodes.
Use these tips to keep your kids healthy throughout the cold and flu season.
Dr. Mario Brus