Mum’s essential flu kit


Here’s an important message for mums (and dads): it’s time to get your arsenal of treatments, your bottomless pit of sympathy and your soothing hands ready for another ‘influenza season.

Even on a good year, between 10 and 20% of New Zealanders will be laid low with a bout of ‘flu. And it will be a rare family who doesn’t get hit with a nasty cold. Parents, of course, will have no time for illness, and instead will need to have their arsenal at the ready for the poorly family members.

Preventing colds and ‘flu

There are a few ways to try to avoid getting this season’s nasty lurgy:

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.

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.

Boost immune systems

There’s no denying a healthy diet rich in everything the body needs, particularly iron and Vitamin C, will 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.

Cold and ‘flu prevention tool kit

  • Lots of yummy citrus fruits in the fruit basket
  • Antibacterial wipes or gel in the handbag, nappy bag and around the house
  • Reminder pictures or notes in the bathroom about washing hands after using the loo and before eating
  • A family chat about how germs are spread and personal hygiene

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 last a couple days while the flu can last up to a week. The ‘flu causes a high fever whereas a cold only sometimes causes a mild fever. Shivering and body aches are symptoms of the flu, but not 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.

Medical options

There are medicines that can relieve the symptoms of ‘flu but, remember, as the illness is caused by the influenza virus, antibiotics are not only unnecessary, they won’t work.

Here are some of the medicines which can treat ‘flu symptoms:

  • Nurofen for Children – this pleasant tasting sugar free syrup has been formulated to target pain and fever in children. It starts to get to work in 15 minutes to relieve fever and provides relief for up to 8 hours. For children 7 years plus, Nurofen For Children Soft Chewable Capsules also provides temporary relief from the pain of cold and flu, as well as fever reduction. The easy to chew format means that there is no need to take with water, providing effective pain relief for when your child needs it most. See the box below for more information
  • Antivirals – there are now specific antiviral drugs available, but their effectiveness is very limited, although they can shorten the length and severity of the illness if used early enough.
  • Paracetamol – this will ease the aches and pains and help reduce the fever.
  • Lozenges and gargles – these can relieve sore throats and coughing but should not be used by children.

Natural options

Flu needs to run its course and there are some natural remedies which can keep sufferers comfortable including:

  • Bed rest – encourage your littlies to stay in bed or at least rest until their temperature returned to normal for 48 hours.
  • Keep hydrated – ensure enough fluids are drunk to maintain normal urine output. It also helps the effectiveness of medicines like paracetamol.
  • A warm compress – these can soothe sinus pain and a headache.
  • Give lots of hugs and cuddles – who can’t get better with mum and dad giving lots of love?!

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.

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. Also see your doctor if you’re at all concerned.

All about Nurofen for Children

Nurofen for Children is designed for children and infants from 3 months.

It contains ibuprofen, which starts providing relief from fever in just 15 minutes*, and lasts up to 8 hours.

Things to check before you use Nurofen for Children

Before using Nurofen for Children, if your child is under 12 months of age, check with your healthcare professional first. Always read the label and ensure you use the product and dose suitable for your child’s age.

How to use Nurofen for Children 

The Nurofen for Children range is designed to provide a Nurofen dose that’s appropriate for babies and children. In addition, all products in the range come with an easy dosing syringe, making it easier to you give your child the correct dose. For older children, (7 years plus) Nurofen for Children also has a Soft Chew Tablets.

The recommended dose of Nurofen for Children varies depending on the weight and age of your child. Start by selecting the right product for your child’s age range. Then, check the dosing guide on the back of the pack to determine the right dose for your child’s age and weight.

Doses should be given every 6–8 hours, as needed, with a maximum of 3 doses in 24 hours.

When to see a doctor

Medicines can help relieve pain for a while, but they don’t fix the underlying cause of pain.

See a doctor if your child’s pain lasts more than a few hours, or appears to be very severe, or your child is obviously unwell, it’s important to see a doctor. If in doubt, always see your doctor.

**Pelen F, et al. Annales de Pediatre 1998; 45(10): 719-28.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. Do not give to babies under 3 months of age. Seek medical advice for children under 12 months of age.


  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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