Jason Bruce, M.D., Boys Town Pediatrics
Generally the flu season is going to be in about January or February, though every now and again we can have some early cases in November or December. Generally the flu compared to an average cold is worse. It is higher fevers. The fevers can last longer, up to three to five days. You tend to have body aches, everything hurts more. Your chest hurts more, the cough is worse. It's sort of a normal cold on steroids, it's just a lot worse than a normal cold.
The flu is generally treated with supportive care meaning rest, fluids, ibuprofen and you can take it easy. There is a medicine for the flu called Tamiflu. We don't always recommend it for every child and if you do want to use the Tamiflu medicine, it does have to be started up to 48 hours of the symptoms starting. If your child does have flulike symptoms and you are interested in that medicine that is something to be discussing with your pediatrician.
Vaccinating against the flu is important because it is really the only way to prevent getting the flu in the flu season. So we recommend flu vaccine for all children zero to eighteen years of age. It's going to be most important for any kids with immune deficiencies, chronic diseases, asthma and children two years and younger. In general we will start looking at vaccinating between September and November is probably the best time.
Washing your hands during flu season, getting a good night's rest at night, good nutrition is always a good bet, staying away from others who are sick at that time. I think if you do the above mentioned things you have a good chance of staying healthy this winter.
The flu or Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Dr. Jason Bruce, pediatrician with Boys Town Pediatrics, explains the importance of the flu vaccine, the difference between the FluMist and the flu shot, and offers some additional tips on how to prevent getting the flu this season.