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With the arrival of flu season, many parents will be watching their children closely for symptoms of this dreaded virus. The flu, also known as influenza, is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract (nose, throat and lungs). The virus spreads easily in settings where many people are contained in close quarters such as schools and childcare, making children especially susceptible to the flu.
At times, the influenza, commonly known as “the flu” is also confused with the flu – the stomach flu. They are not the same. The stomach flu is what we see with vomiting and diarrhea, usually short lived. The influenza is more of respiratory, body ache illness.
Also confused with the common cold, flu symptoms are typically more severe. The following symptoms are good indicators that your child has the flu:
Other symptoms that accompany the flu may include sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea.
Remember, if your child comes down with the flu, keep them home from school or childcare for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone. The flu is highly contagious and can infect other children and caregivers. It can spread by direct contact, such as drinking from the same cup or through indirect contact, such as when a classmate sneezes on his hand and then touches the door handle.
Flu Prevention Tips
Annual outbreaks of seasonal flu typically occur during the fall through the spring. Knowing how to identify flu symptoms and prevent the virus will help you protect your family from getting the flu. Here are just a few tips to keep the virus away from your household.
To prevent seasonal influenza, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children receive the influenza vaccination every year starting at six months of age. Ask Carmel Valley Pediatrics Inc. about flu vaccinations for your child.
When your child is experiencing the flu, extra rest and drinking plenty of fluids can help relieve symptoms. Typical recovery time for the flu is one or two weeks. Contact your San Diego pediatrician at Carmel Valley Pediatrics Inc. if your child’s fever persists, he develops a cough, or if he complains of ear pain. Flu is a serious illness that should be monitored closely.
Founder of Healthy Chats, Dr. Chrystal de Freitas is a pediatrician, author and mother of three children who has a special interest in health education. She completed her pediatric training at the University of Washington, in Seattle, WA, and has been in private practice for 22 years. She practiced with North County Health Services in Encinitas, for 6 years. In 2004, Dr. de Freitas opened her solo private practice of pediatrics, Carmel Valley Pediatrics in San Diego, CA.