Pediatrician located in Naples, FL
Flu makes its rounds every year, making children severely ill and making them miss many days of school. Dr. Paul Irra and Dr. Katarina Ondrejicka at Naples Pediatrics in Naples, Florida, want parents to know that they can help with vaccinations to prevent flu, antiviral medications to treat the flu in its early stages, and advice for making your child comfortable during a bout of flu. Contact us to schedule an appointment in September, which is early in the flu season and the perfect time to prepare to avoid illness.
What is the flu?
Influenza, or flu, is a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory system — the nose, lungs, and bronchial tubes that let air flow in and out of the lungs.
How contagious is the flu?
Children are most contagious during the 24 hours before they begin to feel sick and during the seven days when their symptoms are most severe. Flu is highly contagious because it spreads two ways: through the air and from direct contact.
Virus-infected droplets can travel up to six feet through the air every time an infected person sneezes or coughs. If children breathe in, they can catch the virus.
The virus also spreads when a child with the virus puts their hands up to their mouth or nose and then touches a hard surface before washing their hands. If another child touches that same surface, they may pick up the virus.
What is the difference between the flu and a cold?
Early symptoms of the flu may resemble a common cold, but there are big differences between the two:
Cold symptoms develop over a few days:
- Sore throat
- Runny or congested nose
Flu symptoms appear quickly and are more severe:
- High Fever
- Body aches and chills
- Extreme fatigue
- Dry and often severe cough
- Nasal congestion
- Vomiting and diarrhea
Why should children get a flu vaccine every year?
New vaccines must be developed every year because flu viruses continually change. It’s recommended that children ages six months and older get a flu vaccine every year.
Vaccination is especially important for those who are at a higher risk for flu complications:
- Children under age five
- Anyone with a weakened immune system
- Children and teens with asthma
- Children and teens with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, lung or kidney disease, and sickle cell disease
- Children and teens with neurological and developmental conditions such as muscular dystrophy, intellectual disability, and developmental delay
What should you know about treating the flu?
Please consult your doctor at Naples Pediatrics if you have any questions about treating your child’s flu. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen are acceptable for relieving pain, as long as you follow the proper dosage instructions and these two guidelines:
- Never give aspirin to a child or teen who has the flu.
- Never give Ibuprofen to children who are dehydrated or who are vomiting continuously.
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