People can get the flu more than once per year and many times in their lives. Influenza viruses are unpredictable. They are always changing over time and from year to year.
Signs of the fluAll flu viruses cause a respiratory illness that can last a week or more. Flu symptoms include:
- A sudden fever (usually above 101°F or 38.3°C)
- Chills and body shakes
- Headache, body aches, and being a lot more tired than usual
- Sore throat
- Dry, hacking cough
- Stuffy, runny nose
How to prevent the flu- Tips from the AAP
-Get the flu vaccine every year
-Keep flu germs from spreading
The flu virus spreads easily through the air with coughing and sneezing, and through touching things like doorknobs or toys and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Here are some tips that will help protect your family from getting sick:
- Everyone should wash their hands often. You can use soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. That is about as long as singing the "Happy Birthday" song 2 times. And an alcohol-based hand cleanser or sanitizer works well too. Put enough on your hands to make them all wet, then rub them together until dry.
- Teach your child to cover his mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Show your child how to cough into the elbow or upper sleeve (not a hand) or use a tissue.
- Throw all tissues used for runny noses and sneezes in the trash right away.
- Wash dishes and utensils in hot, soapy water or the dishwasher.
- Don't let children share pacifiers, cups, spoons, forks, washcloths, or towels without washing. Never share toothbrushes.
- Teach your child to try not to touch her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Wash doorknobs, toilet handles, countertops, and even toys. Use a disinfectant wipe or a cloth with soap and hot water. (A disinfectant is a cleaner that kills germs.)
What if my child gets the flu?
Call the doctor right away if your child shows any signs of the flu and:
- Is 3 months or younger and has a fever
- Has fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Looks very sick
- Is more sleepy than usual
- Is very fussy no matter what you do
- Cannot or will not drink anything
- Urinates (pees) very little
You should also call the doctor if your child shows signs of the flu and has a chronic medical condition, like:
- Asthma, diabetes, or heart problems
- Sickle cell disease, cancer, HIV, or another disease that makes it hard to fight infections
- Cerebral palsy or other neurologic disorders of the brain and muscles that make it harder to cough up mucus and breathe
- Morbid obesity (being very overweight)
Go to the emergency department right away if your child:
- Has signs of the flu that keep getting worse
- Has blue skin color
- Will not wake up at all
Help your child feel betterExtra rest and a lot of fluids can help your child feel better. You can also give your child medicine to bring down the fever.
- For a baby 6 months or younger, give acetaminophen. Tylenol is one brand of acetaminophen.
- For a child older than 6 months, give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Advil and Motrin are brands of ibuprofen.
- Never give any child aspirin. Aspirin puts the child at risk for Reye syndrome, a serious illness that affects the liver and brain.
Keep your child homeKeep your child home from school or child care when she has a fever and other signs of the flu. Your child needs rest. Also, your child can give the flu to other children.
When can my child go back to school or child care?Your child should stay home at least 24 hours after his fever is gone. Start counting time after you stop giving your child fever medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. A temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher is a sign of fever. Check with your child's school or child care center to find out its rules about children staying home when they are ill.
--Tips from the www.aap.org