2017-2018 Flu Season: What Parents Need to Know
Two months into the new year, the nasty wave of influenza that is spreading rapidly across the United States shows no signs of slowing. Since the current season began in October, the CDC has documented 53 pediatric flu-related deaths in the country thus far.
And we still have many more weeks to go.
Parents, in the face of such a severe season, it is crucial to know how to spot the warning signs and symptoms of the flu, as well as the best treatment and prevention methods available. Please make an appointment with our office to see Dr. E if your child becomes ill with any of the below symptoms.
Common signs and symptoms of the flu
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
- Muscle and/or body aches
Generally, at least 2 or 3 of the above symptoms will be present when the flu strikes. If your child presents with a very high fever, difficulty breathing, a rapid heartbeat or rapid breaths, and extreme tiredness or confusion, then contact your pediatrician immediately. In the face of severe symptoms, your child may require hospitalization. If your child shows signs of improvement, but then worsens, that could be a sign of a second infection, and is also an indication that your child should be taken to the emergency room.
Children and the elderly are the highest-risk groups for developing complications from influenza, and signs and symptoms of the flu as listed above should not be taken lightly this time of year. The virus can manifest itself in many ways, and only a laboratory test can reveal with certainty if your child has contracted influenza or not.
Treatment and Prevention of the flu
- Parents, make sure your child receives this season’s flu vaccine. The vaccine is the single best preventative measure for influenza. Children, and especially children who suffer from a chronic long-term health condition, are at higher risk for catching the flu and for experiencing more serious complications. The vaccine will help shield your child from a variety of virus strains that may be circulating during the current season.
- Keep your children’s environment as free of germs as possible, because the flu is easily spread through contact with people and objects carrying the virus. Clean and disinfect toys, doorknobs, phones, keypads, and other frequently touched equipment and surfaces. Wash your hands, and the hands of your children often, and try to keep your children from touching their faces afterwards. Use tissues to cover a cough or sneeze, and throw the used tissue away immediately.
- Keep your child away from adults and other children who are sick or who have the flu. If your child does contract influenza, keep him or her home from school and daycare, so as not to put other children at risk for catching the virus. Most cases will clear naturally, but remain alert for any of the severe signs and symptoms listed above, which may require more medical care.
Parents, get your child the flu vaccine today. The 2017 – 2018 flu season could last as long as May. Request an appointment with Dr. E via our online appointment request form or call our Davenport Pediatrics office at (863) 232-5527 to book your child for a flu shot. Here at Pediatric Care of Four Corners, we want your child to remain healthy and protected during this current flu season.