Essential Cold And Flu Kit For Parents

Winter is here and that means it’s time to check that you’re stocked up on remedies for winter ills and chills – and not forgetting a big bottle of sympathy! Be prepared with our tips to help keep the family healthy through the colder months.

Even on a good year, it will be a rare family who doesn’t get hit with a nasty round of coughs and colds. So parents will need to have their family winter wellness kit at the ready for those poorly family members.

There are a few ways to try and avoid getting this season’s ills and chills:

Get an annual flu shot

Flu vaccination is recommended for anyone over the age of six months and particularly for those with underlying illnesses or conditions or who work closely with children. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist to find out more.

Practice and teach hygiene

Now’s the time to have the talk with the family (if they’re old enough to understand) about how to stop the spread of germs, and to go about instigating some practices like regular washing of hands and surfaces, not sharing personal items like utensils, food and drink bottles, and keeping family members home if they’re sick.

Nurturing immune systems

A healthy diet rich in everything the body needs, particularly iron and Vitamin C, can help the body fight off infection. Most of these nutrients are best sourced from fresh foods but if you’re struggling to get them into your little family members, by all means try an age-appropriate supplement.

Be prepared: Cold and flu tool kit

  • Offer a variety of foods as part of a balanced diet including lots of vegetables and yummy citrus fruits
  • Keep antibacterial wipes or gel in the handbag, nappy bag, and in the car for quick cleanups
  • Put up reminder pictures or notes in the bathroom about washing hands after using the loo and before eating
  • Have a family chat about how germs are spread and personal hygiene
  • Ensure kids are getting plenty of sleep as well as regular exercise

Treating colds and flu

Chances are, despite all the best intentions, some sort of nasty lurgy will enter your home and take up temporary residence in your family. While there’s no cure for flu or the common cold, sufferers can be made to feel more comfortable and some of the symptoms can be treated both with medicines and natural methods.

First, work out if it is the flu or just a cold. Cold symptoms may last a couple days while the flu can last up to a week or more. The flu often causes a high fever whereas a cold only sometimes causes a mild fever. Shivering and body aches are usually symptoms of the flu, rather than a cold.

While serious complications with flu are rare it is still responsible for an average of 1200 hospital admissions each year* with children and the elderly most at risk. So it’s worth keeping an eye on your sufferers and keeping them comfortable.

Treatment options

There are treatments that can help to relieve the symptoms of cold and flu. But remember, as flu is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not only unnecessary, they won’t work.

Here are some of the treatments which can help with cold and flu symptoms. Always read the label, use only as directed, ensure that medicines are appropriate for your child’s age, and pay close attention to the correct dosage.

  • Paracetamol – this can ease aches and pains and help reduce a fever.
  • Lozenges – these can relieve sore throats and coughing but are unsuitable for young children.
  • Cough syrups and decongestants – talk to your pharmacist about which one is suitable for your child and their symptoms.
  • Antivirals – there are now specific antiviral drugs available, but their effectiveness is very limited, although they may shorten the length and severity of the illness if used early enough.

Other remedies

There are some other remedies which can help to keep sufferers comfortable, including:

  • Bed rest – encourage your littlies to stay in bed or at least rest until their temperature returns to normal for 48 hours. If they have a fever, keep bedcoverings light and avoid overdressing.
  • Keep hydrated – ensure enough fluids are drunk to maintain normal urine output. It can also aid in the effectiveness of medicines like paracetamol.
  • For a cold, a warm compress can help soothe sinus pain or a headache. For a fever, a lukewarm compress on the forehead may help reduce a fever.
  • Give lots of hugs and cuddles!

Often the best treatments are a combination of medicines with non-drug options. Talk to your GP or chemist about the best ways to treat flu.

Other essentials for your cold and flu kit

  • Tissues – if there’s a lot of nose-blowing going on, the ones with aloe vera or chamomile can be a welcome relief.
  • An empty ice-cream container makes a handy receptacle for used tissues before they’re binned.
  • Congestion clearing chest rubs can be handy when applied just before sleep. Many parents swear by the remedy of applying the rub to the soles of your child’s feet and popping on socks.
  • Warm soup really is good for the patient as well as the soul, offering sustenance, warmth and hydration.
  • Thermometer – if you use a digital one, ensure the battery is good.

Clearing the air

A portable air purifier used in the patient’s room can help to remove allergens and pollutants and give the cold or flu sufferer a healthier environment for recovery.

When to see the doctor

See your GP if a high fever persists or further symptoms develop such as difficulty breathing, coughing up green-yellow phlegm or severe headache or rash develops. Children under six months old with even a mild fever should see a doctor. Also see your doctor if you’re at all concerned.


  1. dawnblyth 03/07/2019 at 10:54 pm

    After getting the real flu really bad a couple of years back – it went through our while family of 4 – we have not missed getting the flu innjection since then. Having heard this year how bad the flu has hit families and friends, I am extremely pleased I paid the $30 at our GP to get it done. I also stock Vit C in the house, in adult and child form, for the prevention and recovery of bugs. A while back I was lucky enough to partake in a dettol trial for a clip on hand sanitiser. It clipped onto the side of my handbag and has been the best thing ever – certainly helps keep the bugs at bay

  2. Alezandra 02/07/2019 at 10:19 pm

    Other than Pamol, we try to do a lot of natural remedies such as bed rest and hydration. It’s a little hard to keep a 4 year old hydrated at times when he doesn’t like to drink water…so we do add a bit of juice in his water to help him be able to drink water. And of course the best natural remedy is lots and lots of cuddles.

  3. MuddledUpMolly 01/07/2019 at 9:03 pm

    It’s an awful time of year for sickness and grotty bugs for the whole family 🙁 I am yet to try nurofen with my children as we usually just use doctor issued pamol but still meaning to try it. A portable air purifier is a great idea though and definitely something to look out for in the coming weeks.

  4. Jen_Wiig 01/07/2019 at 2:25 pm

    Touch wood.. But this is the first year we havent had a cold or flu here… Im not anti vacs by any means but this is also the first year i havent got the fli jabs for us too… Whether theres something in that i dont know, but we have also had alot more natural wholesome foods in our lifestyle too which id say would be helping boost our immunity. Everytime we end up with a cold here i do my very best to try catch it off which ever child gers it before the other 2 as i seem to be good at kiling it quite quickly have no idea why haha.
    Only ever had one super severe case of actial flu with my eldest and it was so nasty and he is asthmatic so was pretty scary for abit too.

  5. kymmage 30/06/2019 at 12:10 pm

    We have had the week from hell here. There is this thing going around that starts lethargic, then moves to what looks like a tummy bug and then into a cold. It’s been through three of us so far. It’s now I think past me for buying those chewable Nurofen for kids and stock poling it for days like this. Staying in top of those doses really helps control the fevers and keep the stomach settled.

  6. SarahBlair 26/06/2019 at 12:28 pm

    I think that I need to sort out a cold and flu kit for my family, we have been okay so far but it can get us at any time!
    Two years ago I got the flu and being a mum I couldn’t rest or take time out to get better, I was sick for two months!! Just feeling terrible for ages, it was horrible and I would hate to go through that again!!

  7. Micht 25/06/2019 at 7:53 pm

    Very sound advice here…. so important to arm ourselves against these germs… great tip for the air purifier.. never thought of that but going to look into that…thank you! Flu shot is something we never got in the 8yrs we have been in NZ but im thinking that its something we need to keep in mind next year, we were hit hard as a family this year and i wish i had actually done it..the shortage around the country didnt help either…. as for cuddles and kisses, nothing fixes sickness better than love 😍

  8. Bevik1971 24/06/2019 at 9:34 am

    It’s a;ways tough when your wee one is sick 🙁 our 6 year old has suffered from croup for a few years now and still suffering. Whenever she picks up anything viral it pretty much always turns into croup which really knocks her around. We give her daily vitamin c and lots of water, she has an air purifier running in her room all night also. We give her honey/lemon drinks when she is sick and try to get lots of rest (yeah right haha). I have thought about the flu shot for her but still undecided on it really. If she has a fever we don’t really give her anything apart from lots of water, unless the fever persists or gets really high, then we give her ibuprofen and of course doctor if really bad. Unfortunately all we can do is be prepared for this season.

  9. Mands1980 22/06/2019 at 5:39 pm

    Well I definately have one of these kits as about 4 weeks ago we all came down sick one after another. The chemist recommended vitamin c so bought 2 big containers, nurofen for children, Panadol, nose sprays. I also swapped hanky’s for tissues to just burn the old ones. We have had high temps and kids home lying on the couch wrapped in blankets. But we like lot of people couldn’t get the flu shot as it’s in such short supply which was a bit disappointing this year.

  10. Shorrty4life1 12/06/2019 at 8:57 pm

    I love the idea of a cold and flu tool kit. This is a great idea for keeping your family well this winter. I also believe myself hand hygiene is key to keeping well in winter. Myself and my family haven’t had flu shot this year and with it being in short supply sounds like we may miss out unfortunately. So will have to keep the nurofen for kids up in the medicine cupboard, vitamins and lozenges and just reminding my children wash hands at all times with soap and water.

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