Dealing With Flu in Children
Every year, it’s common to have influenza outbreaks sometime around October and April. Health organizations like the CDC advises people, both young and old, to have their flu shots prior to the start of the flu season each year as a protective measure against sickness.
Why is it required to have flu shots every year? The main reason for that is the variety of specific virus that causes the flu symptoms. The outbreak this year may be due to one particular virus and the outbreak next year will be due to another virus.
What Flu Symptoms Should You Watch Out For?
Flu symptoms may include cold and sniffles, sore throat, dry cough, fever, muscle pain, headache, chills, extreme fatigue and loss of appetite.
Children and adults have common flu symptoms but there are also differences. Unexplained high fever in newborn babies without any other symptoms may indicate influenza. It is expedient to give immediate treatment to avoid complications. The common signs of flu in toddlers and small children include increase in temperatures over 39.5 degrees Celsius with accompanying convulsions, vomiting, diarrhea or stomach pain. Sometimes, the children also feel severe pain in the back and legs due to inflamed muscles.
What Complications Can Occur With Flu?
Many parents do not take it seriously when their children catch a cold. They don’t bother to take them to a pediatrician for check-up. The problem with this is the probability that the children will have serious complications when undiagnosed and not treated properly.
Many people, particularly small children, are hospitalized as a result of complications related to flu. There are cases of untreated flu that lead to barking cough, croup, noisy breathing and hoarseness. The condition can become worse and cause diseases like pneumonia and lung infection. Infected airways in children can make breathing a lot difficult and cause wheezing sounds.
To avoid all these complications, make it a point to consult a doctor when needed.
How Do You Know You Should Bring Your Child To See The Doctor?
Children who are suffering from influenza can very quickly have worse conditions. So, parents should be attentive and bring the child for medical check-up while the flu is still in its initial stages. You need to bring your child to the emergency room when:
- The child has difficulty breathing and gasps for air
- The child is coughing violently and may feel/look like choking
- The child is complaining of severe pain in the chest area
- The child is always sleepy and tired; he does not like to go out and play
- The child is not drinking enough fluids, which can lead to dehydration
It is best to take the popular advice “prevention is better than cure.” Take precautionary steps to avoid getting sick. Parents should do this for their children. Make sure that your children are healthy and eating nutritious foods. Let your child get a flu shot before the flu season starts each year to avoid suffering from influenza or its related complications.
Photo credit: Image by NIH NIAID via Flickr, CC BY 2.0