F is for Flu
Two years ago, my daughter Sarah woke up feeling extremely weak, with terrible chills and an uncontrollable fever of over 103. It took me less than two minutes to realize what she had, “The dreaded FLU!” The flu is a contagious illness caused by the influenza virus which symptoms include: fever, body aches, sore throat, severe cough, and in some cases abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. I’m sure these all sound familiar, so how can you tell that your little one has more than just a cold? Look for these main differences:
- Body Aches
- Constellation of all the symptoms
- Unbreakable fever
- The duration of the symptoms- the fever can last up to 7 days and the cough can stay for 2 more weeks!
The treatment for the flu is usually supportive. In the most uncomplicated cases physicians will recommend plenty of fluids, rest and ibuprofen or acetominophen for the fever and body aches. In cases where the patient may be at risk for complications he/she may be prescribed antiviral medications to shorten the duration of symptoms. If you or your little ones are experiencing these symptoms be sure to consult with your primary care physician right away.
According to the CDC and the Journal of the American Medical Association, every year in the US approximately 36,000 people die from complications of influenza, especially very young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. The US influenza season starts in September, ending in May with a peak in January-February. The best prevention for any infection other than vaccination is hand washing. This can protect you and your little ones from “the flu,” and all other viruses that can cause severe infections. I give myself and my entire family the vaccine every year, and I recommend for children six months and up to prevent yearly infections.