Clues to fight flus and colds in kids

Parents and guardians tend to have an uphill battle when it comes to ensuring their children consume optimal amounts of fruit and vegetables to absorb vital nutrients. Ensuring their kids’ immune systems are strong enough to face the cold and flu season can also be a difficult venture.

Here, we explore some of the tips and tricks to help kids through the cold and flu season, as well as the OTC products a pharmacy assistant can recommend for helping parents and guardians to help their kids stay strong and healthy at this time.

All-important vitamins and minerals 

Much like adults, if kids are able to maintain a relatively healthy lifestyle by consuming specific vitamins and staying active, they’re able to strengthen their defence against the common cold and flu.

According to the US National Institutes of Health, the following are crucial for maintaining a strong immune system, including that of children:1<superscript>

  • Vitamin C.
  • Vitamin D.
  • Zinc.
  • Echinacea.

The organisation’s research found that these have been proven to help prevent unwanted germs from entering the system and turning into unwanted colds and flu.1<superscript>

The study, published by the US National Library of Medicine, indicates that regular supplementation of vitamin C helps reduce the duration and severity of the common cold by 14 per cent in kids.1

At-home tips and tricks 

If a child comes down with a cold, then the following tips from the US-based Stanford Medicine Children’s Health will help them to make a speedy and healthy recovery:2

  • Ensure they have plenty of fluids, such as water and electrolytes, to prevent dehydration and help with fluid loss.
  • Ensure they get plenty of rest.
  • To manage nasal congestion, a guardian/parent may have to buy a nasal spray, which is available without a prescription.
  • Keep them away from tobacco smoke, as this can irritate the nose and make a sore throat worse.
  • Keep the child at home, so the sickness doesn’t spread or potentially worsen from outside factors.
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier to ensure they can rest and sleep easier.

OTC products

OTC supplements come in a wide range of formats, so age will determine what type of product will be the easiest for a child to consume.

Brands such as Nature’s Way, Swisse, Bioglan and Ostelin offer immune defence and multivitamin gummies or chewable tablets that are promoted as being easy to consume and providing the appropriate ingredients to help battle the cold and flu season.

Those supplements that include vitamins C and D and zinc are also said to help boost a child’s immunity.

Pharmacy assistants can help guardians and parents by finding out what age their child is and what their preference may be when it comes to consuming vitamin and mineral supplements – to help ensure they take them consistently.

If a child has cold and flu symptoms, then advising the parent or guardian to speak to a GP or paediatrician is recommended.

Other products to suggest for a child in battling the effects of the cold and flu season include:

  • Cough liquid.
  • Chest rub.
  • Cough and cold syrup.
  • Vaporiser.
  • Nasal spray.


  1. Rondanelli M, et al, 2018. ‘Self-care for common colds: The pivotal role of vitamin D, vitamin c, zinc and echinacea in three main immune interactive clusters involved during an episode of common colds – practical advice on dosages and on the time to take these nutrients/botanicals in order to prevent or treat common colds’. doi: 1155/2018/5813095
  2. Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. ‘Common cold in children’.

This feature was originally published in the May issue of Retail Pharmacy Assistants e-magazine.