Flu Update

Mar 26

Allegro Pediatrics

Flu Update

by Allegro Pediatrics

The days are getting longer and the weather is getting milder. But despite the shift to spring, flu season is still in full force. King County is currently experiencing high levels of influenza (flu) activity, and public health officials for Seattle and King County expect that it will be sticking around for another 4-6 weeks.

King County hospitals are at maximum capacity and you can expect long wait times at local emergency rooms. Healthcare officials are advising families that suspect flu to contact their doctor or visit urgent care facilities if their illness is not a medical emergency or life-threatening. Of course, our clinics at Allegro Pediatrics are also experiencing very high volumes of phone calls and patient visits related to the flu. We apologize if wait times are longer than usual, and are working hard to make sure that we are able to care for all of the children that need us. Here are some tips to help you decide if you need to seek care for your sick child.

Is it a cold or the flu?

It’s not always easy to tell the difference between a cold and the flu.

Colds usually come on slowly. They may start with a mild fever or sore throat. Your child may develop a runny or stuffy nose, cough, hoarse voice, watery eyes, or swollen lymph nodes.

The flu usually comes on quickly. A sudden onset of symptoms may occur including including fever, muscle aches, chills, fatigue, and headache. Your child may also develop a runny nose, sore throat, and bad cough.

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What should I do if I suspect the flu?

Most children will get better with rest, hydration, and time. For fevers above 102° F, you can give an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol) or an ibuprofen product (such as Advil) if your child is over 6 months of age. Know that it may take 2 to 3 days for a fever to subside, 1 to 2 weeks for a runny nose to stop, and 2 to 3 weeks for a cough to diminish.

If your child develops a complication of the flu or has a high risk factor (children under age 5 and children with chronic medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes), then call your child's doctor.

When to Call:

  • Trouble breathing
  • You notice retractions (pulling in between the ribs) with breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Earache or sinus pain
  • Fever lasts more than 3 days or goes above 104° F (40° C)
  • Nasal discharge lasts more than 14 days
  • Cough lasts more than 3 weeks
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Your child becomes worse

How can I stop the spread of the flu?

Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect your family from flu. It’s not too late to get vaccinated, as this year’s flu viruses are expected to be active for another 6 weeks. Even if your child gets the flu, the shot helps to reduce the symptoms.

Also, remember you can help stop the spread of germs by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Keep your kids home if they have the flu
  • Catch your coughs and sneezes in your elbow or a tissue that you can throw away

To make an appointment or talk to a nurse, contact your clinic.