Parents looking for ways to protect kids from flu

Doctors are urging parents to take extra precaution with their kids going back to school as the flu outbreak remains rampant.

Tarrant County health officials say JPS has dealt with 76 flu cases in the last four days. The patients' ages range from 15 months to 84 years old.

With children now returning to school, experts believe it will cause yet another spike in the North Texas flu outbreak.

Some parents say they're even reluctant to send their kids back to school knowing how bad the flu season has been. Since not attending is not an option, they're looking for other ways to add a layer of protection. But doctors say proceed with caution.

Plano mom, Nancy Sennetti, remembers all too well the start of Christmas Break in 2012.

“All four of us got it,” she recalled. “And we were kind of like dominoes.”

Since then, Sennetti has armed her family with supplements, a multivitamin, probiotic and extra vitamin C during flu season. She's not alone in looking for alternative ways to stay flu-free, especially with the flu vaccine only about 10 percent effective this year.

“In the last three months, there's been a lot of discussion about supplements for many things,” she said. “So it's interesting to see more people are thinking about it.”

Victoria Yang is a pediatrician at Children's Health, where they've seen a spike in flu cases.

“I would say be cautious about homeopathic ingredients, especially because we are not sure what's making up these medications,” the doctor said. “There haven't been many studies that look into the safety and efficacy of these ingredients.”

Yang says managing cold and flu symptoms for children are key. She recommends ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever control, bulb suctioning with saline drops for children under a year old, soothing a nighttime cough with a teaspoon of honey prior to bedtime, and using a cool mist humidifier without essential oils or other products.

For parents insistent on the supplement route, Yang says to look for makers that do third-party testing for dosing and purity.

“I truly believe in never wasting a parents’ money,” Yang said. “I would recommend calling your pediatrician asking them what particular supplant you might be considering and having a dialogue with your pediatrician.”

Yang says don't forget the tried and true measures like hand washing and covering a cough. She says they see a lot of children with asthma, a group that she's very concerned about when it comes to complications.