The flu is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. It can be mild or severe, and in some extreme cases can lead to death. Flu can be especially dangerous for those with chronic illnesses or a weakened immune system. Symptoms of the flu can include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Fever (usually 100.4 or higher)
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle aches
- Child appearing more tired than usual
Treatment Advice from Our Pediatric Experts
If you suspect your child has the flu, your first step should be to contact your child's pediatrician. Because the flu is a virus, it needs to run its course, which means lots of TLC and rest at home.
More at-home flu care tips:
- Children's ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Advil or Tylenol) can be given to help reduce fever and ease body aches
- Offer plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration -- soft fruits, blended frozen juice drinks, and ice pops can also be given if your child gets tired of water
- Encourage rest and couch time
- A humidifier in your child's room can help break up nasal and chest congestion
Staying Flu-Free This Season
You can help keep your family well by steering clear of other people with the virus, encouraging frequent hand-washing, keeping noses and mouths covered with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and keeping your family up to date on their vaccinations. Keeping hard surfaces clean can also help prevent the spread of flu germs.
Arm little immune systems with plenty of sleep and exercise, and a nutrient-rich diet full of flu-fighting fruits, vegetables and protein.