Influenza (Flu)

What is influenza (flu)?

Influenza is a viral illness that involves the entire body. It is very contagious. To help stop the spread of influenza, all family members should wash their hands often, throw away used tissues and avoid sharing plates, cups or utensils. Outbreaks of influenza usually occur during the winter months.

What are the possible symptoms?

  • fever
  • Body aches and headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What is the treatment?

The best way to prevent influenza is to be immunized with the influenza vaccine yearly.

Your child’s doctor will talk with you about specific care for your child. Some general guidelines to follow include:

  • Give acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra, Panadol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Pediaprophen, Advil) for fever, aches and pains. Follow the dosage charts carefully or ask your child’s doctor how much medicine to give. Do not give your child more than 5 doses of acetaminophen in a 24-hour period.
  • Plenty of fluids (if vomiting, give small sips often)
  • Medicines as advised by your child’s doctor – sometimes antiviral medications like tamiflu are added to the treatment regimen but should be discussed with your doctor prior to use
  • Plenty of rest with a gradual return to normal activity

When to call the Doctor:

Call your child’s doctor if:

  • He is not better in five to ten days
  • There are signs of dehydration:
    • No urine in six to eight hours in an infant younger than 1 year old
    • No urine in more than eight hours in a child older than 1 year old
    • No tears when crying
    • Sunken eyes
    • Dry lips and mouth
  • He has a temperature over 100.4 F after taking medicine for more than 48 hours and does not have a “perk up period” every 4-6 hours where he is appropriately interactive with his surroundings.