Flu is a respiratory virus that can spread rapidly during the fall and winter. Someone with the flu can expose you and your family to the virus with a simple cough or sneeze. Viruses also live on hard surfaces. Our kids are notorious for putting their hands on those places and then touching their faces, which is why the virus is passed along so easily at schools and daycares.
Flu season often creeps up on us like trick-or-treaters in October around Halloween, but can be much scarier. The season really kicks into high gear by December, so now is a great time to help protect your family. The flu vaccine is one of the best defenses against the virus, and not just for your kids. A flu vaccine is a must for every member of the family older than 6 months. And don’t believe the superstition, a flu shot won’t make you sick. Also, remember to put some hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes on your shopping list to help further shield your kids from this nasty bug.
A sudden and high fever, along with chills, aches and a sore throat, are all signs that your child may be suffering from the flu. When the flu strikes, kids usually feel miserable and you’ll probably notice their activity drop quite a bit. If your child is active and playing normally, a low-grade fever, runny nose, and slight coughing, are more likely to be symptoms of a common cold.
Because flu is a virus, we don’t prescribe antibiotics. Children with the flu are often very tired and achy, so the most common “prescription” is a combination of extra rest and lots of fluids. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen in age-appropriate doses often work well to treat aches and fevers. Never give a child aspirin if you think they might have the flu. It increases their risk for Reye Syndrome, which can damager your child’s brain, liver and other organs.
If you think your child already has the flu or you want to get flu shots to protect your kids before flu season is in full swing, come visit us.