We have all seen it either on the news or in a newsletter from the school; beware of the flu, but how do you know if your child has the symptoms of the flu or it is symptoms from something else? From a fever to a headache, knowing the symptoms of the flu and the best way to treat it; will help you identify what troubling your little one and help speed the healing process.
Influenza A and B are most prevalent in the winter months and these are the two strains that can be the most uncomfortable for children and adults. The flu virus can be spread via touch or airborne. Now is the time to remind our children to wash their hands all the time, keep those fingers out of their noses, mouths and eyes and to not share food. You should also remind your children that when they sneeze or cough to use the old Dracula routine and do so into their elbows. This will prevent the droplets that escape from their mouths from landing on surfaces that could cause infection around them. Another way to prevent the spread is to get the vaccination as recommended by your child’s pediatrician.
Influenza A and B symptoms are a high fever, body aches, chills, headache, and a cough. Most children also report sore or inflamed throats. Your child will feel awful and listless. He or she will have a general ill look to they with inflamed reddish skin (from the fever) and watery eyes. There may be discharge from the nose in a clear fashion not the greenish tint that sometimes accompanies sinus infection or the common cold. Some of the youngest children may also contract nausea and diarrhea as the body begins to defend itself. As the flu spreads to toddlers and infants, the flu may present itself similar to croup, upper respiratory infection, pneumonia or bronchitis.
When your child has presented with any or all of these symptoms, contact your pediatrician within 48 hours of presentation. If your child is over a year of age, he or she may be prescribed Tamiflu as the quickest way to dispatch the flu symptoms. It is reported, however, that the children may experience a deep cough for up to two weeks. The 48 hour window is crucial as afterwards the antibiotics may not be as effective. Your pediatrician will collect a nasal or throat sample which will rapid result within 15 minutes or so. The test will be important to diagnosing what is going on with your child.
As your child begins his or her recovery, it is necessary that your child remain hydrated, especially with high fever. The patient should receive at least 64 ounces of fluid on a daily basis. These fluids can consist of water, decaffeinated tea, chicken broth or juice. Try to avoid caffeine-based products as they can cause dehydration in the child. To help the child with breathing, prop him or her up on several pillows, use the shower as a steam room and of course, you can utilize a humidifier in the child’s room when they are sleeping. Finally, as the cough can be harsh on young children, follow your pediatrician’s recommendations for cough suppressant/expectorants to help them feel more comfortable.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and the flu is nothing to be messed with. It can result in hospitalization if left untreated for too long. Getting a flu shot can be a good preventative, however, it is also good to practice healthy living by washing your hands frequently, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and to keep your hands to yourself. Knowing the symptoms are also recommended to be on the road to a quick recovery.