The flu. It comes every year, never fail. This fast hitting illness is more intense than a cold and is particularly common in children. The flu is highly contagious, spread by close contact or when inhaled from an infected person. Symptoms may not present until days after contracted so it is difficult to know who already harbors the virus. Hand-washing and yearly vaccinations are the two easiest ways to avoid the flu. A yearly flu vaccination comes in two ways- a nasal spray or a shot. Depending on age and current symptoms, your pediatrician will recommend a method best for your child.
Flu Symptoms in Children
Although flu symptoms may not show for a couple days after contracted, the first two or three days are when kids tend to feel the most sick. Symptoms come on quick and should be treated immediately for quicker recovery. Common flu symptoms in children are:
- High fever (up to 104°)
- Chills and shakes
- Headache and body aches
- Sore throat
- Dry cough
- Vomiting and stomach pain
If these symptoms present themselves, see a doctor immediately. The quicker the flu can be caught, the easier it is to treat. Your child should see a pediatrician as often the flu can be mistaken for a stomach bug. Your pediatrician may recommend an antiviral medication. As with any illness, rest and fluids are the best treatments. Over the counter medications can be used to lower fevers and relieve body and head aches. If symptoms get worse or new symptoms such as skin discoloration, dehydration, lethargism see a doctor right away. Flu symptoms in children may vary so treatment options may vary depending on the child and the severity of their flu. Always consult your pediatrician before starting a treatment plan.
Health Care for Children encourages all parents to call our office with any questions regarding your child’s health. A nurse is available seven days away to speak with via phone. If you feel your child should be seen by a pediatrician we have convenient weeknight and weekend hours. More information regarding respiratory infections in children can be found at healthy children.org.