Flu Update

Jan 23

Allegro Pediatrics

Flu Update

by Allegro Pediatrics

Health officials have reported that influenza B, one of the viruses that can cause the flu, is circulating widely and has the potential to cause severe illness, especially in children. So far this flu season, the flu has claimed the lives of 32 children, including 21 children that were sick with influenza B. The flu season typically peaks between December and February, but can last through March. For more information from the CDC regarding influenza B, please visit the AAP News.

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 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. If your child is uncomfortable from fever or body aches, 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 several 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 or diabetes), then call your child's doctor.

When to Call:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Earache or sinus pain
  • Fever above 104° F (40° C)
  • Sudden onset of fever
  • Fever persistent > 4 days
  • 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 through March and potentially longer. 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.