The flu is now widespread in 24 states across the nation. 13 children have died so far as a result.
When it comes to prevention, nothing beats the flu vaccine. If you or your kids haven’t received the flu shot yet, it’s not too late.
Getting vaccinated against the flu is the best bet to try and avoid serious influenza-related complications this flu season, according to the CDC and doctors at the Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Purva Grover of Cleveland Clinic, Children’s, tells us, “Younger kids, especially the little ones, and, or, high-risk patients who have other diagnoses like leukemia or are otherwise immunocompromised, they can get sick –very, very sick. And when we say, ‘very, very sick,’ these could be multiple complications from what sounds as simple as a high fever to difficulty breathing, affecting the respiratory system, to conditions which affect the heart.”
The flu is a respiratory virus, but it can affect all parts of the body. If a child becomes ill with the flu, doctor Purva Grover says it’s important to keep them as comfortable as possible, make sure they have medication to keep their fever under control, and keep them hydrated with plenty of fluids.
The flu is a virus, so there are no specific medications to treat it, which can be frustrating and worrisome for parents.
It can take 5-7 days before a child really starts feeling better. However, if a child has been given medication to reduce fever and it’s not coming down, or if the child is not urinating more than twice a day, or has difficulty breathing; these are all signs of possible complications that need prompt medical attention.
The flu can be scary for parents and gauging the severity of symptoms can often feel like a guessing game. But, when in doubt, she says it’s always best for parents to trust their instincts if they feel something isn’t right.
Purva says, “At any given point, if you feel something is not right with your child –and that something could be the way he or she is breathing, the way he or she looks, the way their color might be –all of those things can be sign of impending not-so-good stuff -and it’s probably better to seek medical attention than to forego it.”
Grover says it’s important to keep kids home until they’ve been fever-free, without the aid of fever-reducing medications, for at least 24 hours.
If you send them back to school or activities before this point, the child is still contagious and can spread the illness to others.