BALTIMORE - A sniffling, coughing, achy child can be a conundrum for parents. Where do you draw the line between keeping them at home (and, possibly, taking off work to take care of them) and sending them to school?
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that some of it depends on the child. As long as they’re not contagious, some children may feel like they can still buckle down, concentrate and participate, others may be fatigued and require some extra TLC.
If they’re contagious, they should be at home so they don’t spread the germs to their classmates.
Other things to consider:
“The cough suppressants do not work to suppress cough; the decongestants do not work to reduce congestion,” says Dr. Michael Shannon, a pediatric emergency medicine physician and pharmacologist/toxicologist at Children's Hospital Boston. “The good news is that a cold will last three to four days and then their child will be fine.”
If your child has a fever or feels achy, Shannon recommends use of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which are known to be safe and effective in children.
Most people recover from the flu within a week, but may be left feeling exhausted for as long as three to four weeks.
“It usually takes a couple of weeks from the time you get the shot to be fully protected," says Dr. Thomas Sandora, medical director of Infection Control at Children's Hospital Boston "but flu activity tends to continue through at least March.”
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