This year’s Flu outbreak has been reported to be the most severe in history. The Flu season is still not yet over and more cases are being reported daily.
The Flu is a very contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus.
Signs and Symptoms of the Flu in Children:
*Not everyone who has the Flu will have a fever. Treat the Flu seriously. You are still contagious even if you do not have a fever.
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Body aches
- Extreme fatigue
Unlike adults, children with the flu can have nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
How Does the Flu Spread?
The Flu virus spreads when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. This releases the flu virus which can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. The Flu virus can easily spread from child to child when they are in close quarters together such as in a classroom.
Symptoms of the Flu begin about 1-4 days after the Flu virus enters your child’s body. This means that your child can pass along the Flu virus to others before they show signs of being sick. However, children with the Flu are most contagious within the first 3-4 days after becoming ill but can infect others up to 7 days after becoming sick.
Treatment for the Flu:
- Antiviral medications may help if they are started within the first 2 days of becoming ill. Antiviral medication can shorten the illness by 1-2 days and stop the Flu virus from reproducing, so it cannot spread.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
- Rest in bed
- Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever, aches and pains after consulting with your child’s physician
When You are Sick with the Flu:
- Stay at home and limit contact with others to keep them from becoming infected.
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
The Center for Disease Control recommends a yearly Flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against the Flu. However, it is still possible to become sick with the Flu even if you have been vaccinated.
If your child is experiencing a sudden onset of fever, chills, sore throat, cough, congestion, runny nose, body aches, headache, extreme fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea, then speak to your child’s doctor about being tested and treated for the Flu.