Charles Sprague, M.D.
Influenza is one of the most severe illnesses of the winter season. Reaching its peak in January and February, this respiratory viral infection is in season from October to mid-May.
Influenza is most contagious during the first 24 to 36 hours of contracting the virus, but symptoms indicating that a child has the flu usually do not appear for one to seven days.
Influenza is not the same as the stomach "flu" virus which causes diarrhea and vomiting. The influenza virus is a highly contagious virus that attacks the respiratory system including your nose, throat and lungs. It can affect 5–20% of the United States population annually, with more than 200,000 individuals hospitalized.
Flu symptoms will vary from child to child, but the most common signs of the flu are:
The treatment your child should receive depends on his or her main symptoms. Boys Town Pediatrics suggests these home remedies:
The best defense against influenza is to take the annual
Children who attend daycare or school are particularly susceptible to the flu. Influenza is most contagious during the first 24 to 36 hours of contracting the virus, but symptoms indicating that a child has the flu usually do not appear for one to seven days.
Tips to Prevent Influenza (Flu) in Children
If complications occur, such as sinus pain or pressure, earache or a fever that lasts longer than three days, call your child's physician during office hours. If your child develops a very high fever, has a seizure, is having difficulty breathing or starts to act very sick, call your physician immediately.