My child develops on-and-off flu episodes that only go away after treatment. I have tried different forms of medication to eliminate it completely in vain. Is this something to worry about or it will go at some point? Rita.
The word, “flu” is used loosely for symptoms of common cold. This mostly includes running of nose, sneezing, blocked nose, one or more of these symptoms. There may be associated headache, bodyache and or fever. Mostly flu occurs due to viral infections and subsides spontaneously without treatment in about a week. If superadded bacterial infection occurs, there can be headache and high fever. Children are more vulnerable to these infections as their immune system is not fully developed yet. Play groups and day care centers become focal points for spread of infection. The infection also spreads through contaminated toys, cell phones, e.t.c. Adults having flu can transmit it to toddlers who are in their close proximity. Small children who are exposed to passive tobacco smoke due to adults smoking, also become vulnerable to recurrent flu. The treatment is mostly symptomatic. Hot liquids, like hot water, soup, tea, e.t.c. help to soothe the symptoms. Steam inhalation is also beneficial.
At times, the nasal septum(cartilage in the middle of the nose) may be deviated. This also causes repeated flu. This condition can be cured by a minor surgery.
Flu also occurs due to allergy. Allergy can be to something present in atmosphere or used over body. The atmospheric allergens(allergy producing substances) are like smoke, dust, dander, pollens, spores, e.t.c. Chemicals containing body care products like soap, shampoo, lotion, e.t.c. can produce allergy in vulnerable children. Hereditary factors are also present. Processed ready to eat baby foods can also cause allergy due to the chemicals present, either as preservative or coloring or flavoring agents.
Prevention lies in improving immunity of the body. Food should include proteins, vitamin C and anti oxidants. This can be obtained from fresh green vegetables, onions, carrots, fruits like orange and guava, whole grains, nuts, cheese, meat products like chicken and fish. Avoid giving processed baby foods to the child. Hand washing is a very good measure to stop acquiring and spreading infections. Keep the child away from any smoking adult or adult having cold and or cough. Adequate sleep is necessary to improve immunity. Influenza vaccines are beneficial in keeping flu away. Anti viral drugs are effective only when used within 48 hours of commencement of symptoms, but they are not used routinely.