Your Health: 1-11-13 Relieving flu symptoms in children

Fighting the flu without a weapon can be tough, especially for children.

Young children tend to suffer more than others because they can't take over-the-counter medications to help relieve their symptoms.

Cough and cold medications can have serious side effects including rapid heart rate and convulsions in young children.

Dr. Bridget Boyd, a pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine has some advice for parents of young children.

Boyd says, "Children of all ages can get relief from a warm mist humidifier or exposure to steam from a shower."

Children 3 months to 12 months old should be given warm, clear fluids such as water, apple juice and an oral electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte. Children who are 1 year old can be given a half to a full teaspoon of honey, which is a natural cough suppressant that helps thin secretions. Children older than 6 years can be given cough drops.

Boyd says, "Remember, antibiotics do not stop or limit viral infections such as the flu. If you suspect your child has the flu, talk to your pediatrician about medications that lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness."