Flu In Children
Influenza is a common but highly contagious infection that may be caused by any among three strains of the flu virus. This infection affects the upper respiratory tract along with the throat and nose and in some cases can travel to the lungs. While all individuals are at a risk of getting this infection at specific times during the year, children are particularly vulnerable to suffering from this infection. The peak season during which the infection may be transmitted is from the months of November to March. Flu in children tends to be spread easily as children tend to come in close contact with others in school classrooms and other settings. So a child suffering from the flu can easily spread it through the infected droplets that may be suspended within the air on coughing or sneezing.
Flu in children may start abruptly and the symptoms also tend to be severe compared to those experienced by adults. Children may feel particularly ill during the initial three days after the onset of the infection. The symptoms that may be commonly observed include high fever which may be as high as 104 degrees F, sore throat, bodyaches, extreme tiredness, vomiting as well as belly pain and chills accompanying the fever. While these symptoms may last for up to four days, the tiredness can remain for around a couple of weeks. The cough in children may also be severe and of hacking type. In younger children abdominal pain as well as vomiting are commonly observed. A high level of irritability may also be therefore observed.
While flu can be diagnosed through the symptoms, in some cases the doctor may take swabs of the mucus and analyze the same. Chest X-ray may also be taken to rule out the possibility of pneumonia. Flu in children should be carefully monitored and it is advisable to seek medical attention in cases where the fever continues for more than three days. Likewise children should take medicines if the nasal discharge is observed for a period in excess of 10 days and the discharge is observed to be thick as well as yellow. Immediate medical attention is needed if the child finds it difficult to breathe properly or the breathing becomes uneven or fast. It is advisable for children to get the influenza vaccine on an annual basis. All children over 6 months of age should be given the vaccine. Antibiotics should not be administered as they are used to treat bacterial infections and since the flu is a viral infection, antibiotics cannot work. It is important for children to remain well hydrated by drinking fluids and to get enough rest. Certain medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used to reduce body aches as well as fever. Aspirin should not be given to children as it increases the possibility of causing liver as well as brain damage. Humidifiers can be used so to ensure that children find it easier to breathe and these also help in loosening the mucus. It is also important to ensure that the nose is kept clean before sleeping as children often find it difficult to breathe.
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