Every fall, doctors suggest children and at-risk adults receive a seasonal flu vaccination. The vaccination can prevent the flu or curb the intensity of a flu infection. This is especially important for the young, older and people with compromised immune systems. About 20,000 young children are hospitalized every year from complications and symptoms of seasonal flu. Some flu seasons are mild, while others are more extreme. In 2009, a pandemic of H1N1 flu skilled more than 340 children.
Symptoms of the Seasonal Flu
The seasonal flu is characterized by sudden fever ranging from 100.4 to 101.5 degrees and above. The fever will likely be combined with nausea, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and fatigue. Aches and pains all over the body may be another sign of the seasonal flu, though infants are not able to make the pain known. There are various types of flu, but most have the same common symptoms. The difference between the seasonal flu and the common cold is the presence of a fever.
Passing Seasonal Flu on to Other Children and Adults
The seasonal flu is highly contagious. Children should use tissues to shield sneezes and coughs. Proper hand washing can be utilized to prevent spreading to other people in the home. Children should not attend school or daycare when suffering from the seasonal flu.
Treatment for Seasonal Flu
In mild to moderate cases, children will typically heal from the seasonal flu at home. Parents should allow children to rest and push liquids to prevent dehydration. If children don't feel like eating, warm broth is ideal to increase hydration and provide vitamins. Aches, pains, and fever can be treated with over the counter fever reducing medications as long as they do not contain aspirin.
In severe cases, children may need to be hospitalized to prevent dehydration from flu symptoms. In some cases, children over the age of 2 are given anti-viral medications to speed recovery. Most children can be treated for seasonal flu at home, but the pediatrician should be notified in case further care is needed. Some pediatricians choose to prescribe flu medications like Tamiflu at the earliest signs of the flu.
Recovery from Seasonal Flu
Recovery time varies from one child to the next. In most cases, symptoms last a few days with full recovery coming within a week to 10 days. Lingering fatigue tends to be the symptom felt longest.