Flu season is upon us, and with the flu widespread in Vermont, the team of providers at Northwestern Pediatrics compiled some flu facts for you to consider to help you stay healthy or seek help when you or your family it.
What You Should Know About Flu Exposure:
- Influenza treatment is not significantly different than the treatment of any other viral cold and cough
- Most children will not need to have a visit with their doctor because of the flu.
How Can I Protect My Children From The Flu?:
- Vaccinate your children; ages 6 months and up
- As much as possible, try to avoid public places during flu season
- Wash your hands with soap and water
- Cough into your “wing” (elbow)
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth; as this is the way you can become sick
- Keep your child home from school/daycare, if they are exhibiting signs or symptoms of the flu
Reasons to call your child’s doctor for an appointment:
- If your child has labored breathing or trouble breathing. It is normal to breathe rapidly, when the child has a high fever; however it is NOT normal to have labored breathing.
- If the child is not drinking enough fluid, or is producing much less urine than normal
- If your child has other underlying health conditions; such as: lung or heart disease, asthma, or diabetes AND they have started with the high fever and cough. (We consider these conditions, with the flu, high risk)
- If your child is under 2 years of age and has started a high fever and cough
- Flu can lead to secondary complications, such as ear infections or pneumonia. Therefore, if your child has had flu symptoms that have subsided and then develops a fever or worsening cough, they should be seen.
What you can expect with the flu:
- The fever may last 2-3 days
- Runny nose may last 1-2 weeks
- Cough may last 2-3 weeks
- If your child starts to show symptoms of the flu such as high fever, cough, body aches and is an otherwise healthy child, it is best to support him or her at home with drinking clear fluids and fever control. We don’t recommend office visits for otherwise healthy children who have the flu, as supportive home care is the best treatment. Antibiotics will not help with influenza symptoms.
- There is currently a shortage of the medication (Tamiflu) and test kits, for influenza. Therefore, we will only be testing and treating those at high risk with the flu, or those who are very ill and under 2 years of age. In order to treat with Tamiflu, the patient would have to be experiencing the early onset of influenza, which is within the first 48 hours of noticing symptoms.