According to the CDC, “Children younger than 5 years of age are at high risk of serious flu-related complications. It’s estimated that more than 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized due to flu complications each year in the United States. Many more have to go to a doctor, an urgent care center, or the emergency room because of flu.”
Flu viruses spread when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. The virus can be in droplets of saliva from infected people which can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. A person can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.
Symptoms of the flu include:
- Sore Throat
- Runny Nose
- Stuffy Nose
- Body Aches
- Dry Cough
- Diarrhea and Vomiting (usually more common in children)
Flu symptoms can last from a few days to two weeks and complications from the flu can occur. Per the CDC, “Complications from the flu can include pneumonia (an illness where the lungs get infected and inflamed), dehydration (when a child’s body loses too much water and salts, often from not drinking enough), worsening of long-term medical problems like heart disease or asthma, encephalopathy (inflammation of the brain), sinus problems and ear infections. In rare cases, flu complications can lead to death.”
If you get flu symptoms, visit a health care professional, minimize contact with other people, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, and wash hands with soap and water frequently. Observe your children or the children in your care for symptoms of illness. If a child develops a fever 101 degrees orally, respiratory symptoms, or is less responsive than normal, contact their doctor.
As you may already know, antibiotics will not kill a virus. The virus must run its course. Treatment for the flu virus includes antiviral drugs, which are available for children two weeks and older and adults. Antiviral drugs are not antibiotics, and the use of antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu, can make the illness milder and shorter in duration. Per the CDC, “studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health condition or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.”
The flu season begins in October and runs through May with most cases occurring in January and February. Vaccinations can be given at any time during the flu season, and once administered, the vaccine takes approximately two weeks to protect against common flu strains. Children under the age of 9 and who have never received a seasonal flu vaccination will need two doses of the seasonal vaccine this year (even if they got the 2009 H1N1 pandemic flu vaccine). The second dose must be given no sooner than four weeks after the first dose.
Per the CDC, “Pregnancy increases the risk that a healthy woman who gets the flu will get sick, be hospitalized, or die. Because the flu shot is only a protein that can’t give a person the flu, the benefit of vaccination far outweighs any possible risk from the vaccine itself. That goes for the woman as well as for her developing baby.”
Don’t play around with the flu. Take time out of your schedule and get your family vaccinated. It costs about $10 per person to be vaccinated, which is much more cost effective than paying medical bills from doctor or ER visits, antiviral medicines, and not to mention the lost time and wages for missing work while you stay home with your child who is sick.
Infants under the age of 6 months cannot be vaccinated and are considered high risk. Every family member or caregiver that are around infants under the age of 6 months should be vaccinated from the flu making it less likely to get the flu and, therefore, less likely to spread the flu to infants under the age of 6 months.
Hi this is Terri Borman and I hope you enjoyed this post about the flu. I am also the author of children’s book, Shapes Go to School. It’s the first day of school for the shape children and their teacher, Miss Heart, has asked the shape children to get up and introduce themselves. While having fun reading Shapes Go to School, your children will learn to recognize shapes and everything in between such as colors, counting, and even diversity. To order your copy, click on the picture of the cover of Shapes Go to School.