Heading off the worst of a flu?
February 19, 2012 3:49 PM   Subscribe

My young son probably has the flu, which could strike any day now. Dumb question, but is there anything I can do?

He turns three next month. We just learned that a group of his pre-school playmates have come down with the flu--my son the only exception. So he's the odd man out, and since he played with them several times recently, he likely got infected. He hasn't had a flu shot.

I'm not really that worried, I know it's just the flu, but I'm curious if there's anything we can do to perhaps boost his immune system so the flu (if in fact he does have it). Naturally, of course. Keep him hydrated, of course, and...?
posted by zardoz to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
I know for adults there some medication that will help lessen the severity if you take it soon enough after the onset of symptoms. It might be worth calling your pediatrician to ask about.
posted by apricot at 3:54 PM on February 19, 2012

Best answer: Wash his hands, face and hair. Whatever clothing he had on, wash that, too. You might be able to still dodge it.

Otherwise, nothing you can do except keep him fed, hydrated, warm, comfy, etc.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:55 PM on February 19, 2012

The drug apricot is thinking of is Tamiflu. (There is another antiviral for influenza, Relenza, but that's only for use in older children and adults.) But he certainly might not have caught it, and who knows if what the playmates have is truly influenza.

I'd add plenty of sleep to the list of things that can't hurt and might help. I would not add anything like vitamin supplements or herbal preparations like that fake-o "Airborne" stuff they sell at drugstores right next to actual drugs.
posted by lakeroon at 4:21 PM on February 19, 2012

Take him to get a flu shot. Yeah, if he's already infected it's very likely too late to prevent it. But you don't know he's infected already, it will help prevent this in the future, and hey, it could reduce the severity of infection even if he is infected by giving his immune system a head start.
posted by Justinian at 4:48 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Are you certain the other children have true influenza? The "stomach flu" is not, for example.
posted by wnissen at 8:40 PM on February 19, 2012

Tamiflu safety, effectiveness questioned
posted by dougiedd at 11:32 PM on February 19, 2012

Tamiflu has horrible side effects to the point where most people who are prescribed it don't take the full course. I can't imagine a 2 year old being happier with nausea/vomiting/diarrhoea than with normal flu-like symptoms.

Tylenol gets alternatively really bad press or people claiming it doesn't work for them but if you give it to him regularly and in the correct doses it'll be really good for controlling his symptoms. Most kids who are taken to Emergency with the sniffles are sent away with it or ibuprofen.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 11:51 PM on February 19, 2012

I'd call the pediatrician's nurses, tell them the situation and ask what they recommend.
posted by kinetic at 3:35 AM on February 20, 2012

Response by poster: Well, it looks like he has something--he's now got a runny nose. Just keeping him warm and hydrated and happy, I suppose. Chicken noodle soup is in order.
posted by zardoz at 3:34 PM on February 20, 2012

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