The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that this year’s flu season is expected to be one of the worst the country has seen in 10 years. A flu outbreak has already caused the deaths of at least 18 children and filled many emergency rooms across the country. Boston mayor Thomas Menino declared a “public health emergency” because of the rise of the flu across the city. KidsHealth.com provide ways to prevent the flu along with the symptoms and ways to treat it.
Preventing the Flu: Although taking the flu shot is important, there’s no guarantee way to prevent it. Here are some practical ways to prevent the spread of the flu:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap, especially after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and before eating.
- Never pick up used tissues.
- Never share cups and eating utensils.
- Stay home from work or school when you’re sick with the flu.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then put it in the trash. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your upper arm, not into your hands.
So, how do you know if your little one actually has the flu. Here are some signs and symptoms to be aware of:
Signs & Symptoms
- muscle aches
- loss of appetite
- sore throat
- runny nose
- nausea or vomiting
- ear pain
Infants with the flu also may seem fussy all of a sudden or just “not look right.”
So, what happens if your child catches the flu? Here are some treatments:
Treatments: For a severely ill child or one with other special circumstances, a doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine that can decrease the duration of illness by 1-2 days and prevent potential complications of the flu. This medicine can only be helpful if it’s given within 48 hours of the onset of the flu. Most healthy people who get the flu do not need to take an antiviral medication. If an antiviral medication is prescribed, be sure to discuss any possible side effects with your doctor.
These at-home tips can help most otherwise healthy kids cope with the flu. Have them:
- drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration
- get plenty of sleep and take it easy
- take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve fever and aches (do not give aspirin to children or teens as it may cause a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome)
- wear layers, since the flu often makes them cold one minute and hot the next (wearing layers — like a T-shirt, sweatshirt, and robe — makes it easy to add or subtract clothes as needed)
Kids who are sick should stay home from school and childcare until they are without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. Some might need to stay home longer, depending on how they feel. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your doctor.
When to Call the Doctor
Call the doctor if your child:
- has flu symptoms
- has a high fever, or fever with a rash
- has trouble breathing or rapid breathing
- has bluish skin color
- is not drinking enough fluids
- seems very sleepy or lethargic
- seems confused
- has flu symptoms that get better, but then get worse
For the most part, though, the flu is usually gone in a week or two with a little rest and tender loving care.
Source: huffingtonpost.com, kidshealth.com image: kidsdiscovery.com