Health tips for this cold and flu season from our favorite local pharmacist

image1We are so grateful to Ryan and Damaris Hamilton from Homewood Pharmacy for these excellent tips for our Swaddle families!

Cold and flu season is upon us and with that comes more than just a fever or runny rose. It also comes with a bevy of information that can sometimes seem impossible to navigate. What can I do to prevent myself or my little ones from getting a cold or the flu? What are the right medicines to take depending on symptoms? If I, or my children, do get sick…what then? Our goal is to help answer these questions and equip you to better care for yourself and your family.


First, let’s talk a little about prevention.  It’s great to know how to treat your family for their different illnesses, but’s even better to help prevent them from ever getting to that point.  As the weather gets a little colder and we spend more time inside, germs are going to get passed around with a lot more frequency.  You could resort to wearing a bird flu face mask but if that isn’t your thing, here are a few steps you can take to help with prevention.   We need to make sure that we are washing our hands regularly and using hand sanitizer when appropriate.  This goes for both parents and children.  Our children often have a less developed immune system than us, so we need to make sure that we don’t introduce the germs we have come into contact with them.  We can also educate our children on proper hand washing and to avoid close contact with their friends that are sick.  There is also some data that suggests certain vitamins such as Vitamin C and Zinc are beneficial for preventing cold and flu as well as shortening the duration of sickness.  Consult with your pharmacist or physician before giving your children any of these OTC products and know that these vitamins can also often be found in many fruits and vegetables.  And while it may be too late for Mariah Carey to salvage her career it’s NOT too late to get a flu shot, as they only take about 2 weeks to take effect.  Plus, these can be administered by your local pharmacist with no prescription necessary!


Now, in the unfortunate event that your family does get sick this cold & flu season, let’s talk about how to best treat these illnesses. Some symptoms can be treated effectively with OTC products, while some symptoms should cause more concern and warrant a call or visit to the pediatrician.  A few symptoms that are more concerning are:


  • Trouble breathing


  • Not drinking enough fluids or dry diapers


  • High fever


  • Flu like symptoms (e.g. body aches)


  • Irritability or trouble sleeping


For less serious symptoms (runny nose, cough, low grade fever for example), there a myriad of different OTC options. We suggest speaking with your pharmacist before treating your children for their symptoms.  There is a lot of overlap between OTC products and it is very easy to overmedicate your children.  Cold & flu products also only have dosing for ages 6 and up, so incorrect dosing for smaller children is a concern.  We also recommend more natural treatments for symptoms such as saline nasal sprays and humidifiers for stuffy noses and warm salt water gargling for a sore throat.  Dehydration is also a major concern when our kids are sick, so drinking plenty of fluids is imperative.  Lastly, if your children are sick, try to do your best not to spread it to others.  Children should stay at home for at least 24 hours after their fever has gone away.


Unless you are willing to go off the grid and live in a doomsday bunker with your Twinkies and children, there is no real way to avoid cold and flu season. But hopefully, with the info you’ve received here, you will be better equipped to prevent and/or treat these two illnesses and get your family back to great health!


If you have any additional questions concerning cold and flu season, feel free to reach out to us at Homewood Pharmacy. We are located at 940 Oxmoor Road in the heart of Edgewood. You can call us at 871-900 or email us at  Be sure to follow us on Facebook for more health tips.