Flu in children is a highly contagious respiratory disease.
Flu outbreaks appear every year in the rainy and winter seasons. Children get sick immediately due to the flu and sometimes they need to be admitted due to chest infection (pneumonia). Pneumonia in children become sometime life threatening.
The influenza virus changes every year and children or adults do not have that much immunity. Therefore, flu that can occur frequently is called seasonal flu. We have seen pandemic in 1889, 1918, 1957, 1968, 2009, 2020 due to infection with this virus.
What are the types of flu in children ?
There are three types of flu virus.
Influenza A and influenza B are two types of viruses that cause the spread of the flu during the rainy season every year. The flu, which is caused by this virus, can cause children to be hospitalized and endanger their lives.
Both types of viruses change every year due to mutations. Which is called as genetic shift. As a result, young children are exposed to the new virus every year.
The influenza-C flu virus causes mild or asymptomatic illness. The virus does not spread like influenza A and influenza B.
How is the flu virus spread?
The flu virus is present in the nostrils of an infected person. In young children, the flu virus can be transmitted from siblings, parents, and playmates. The virus can spread in three ways.
- Direct contact – Children are often kissed by adults on the cheeks, and if the person doing this is infected with the flu, it can spread to other children.
- Indirect contact – door-to-door, toys if handled by a person with the flu touched by small children can spread the flu because the flu virus lives on inanimate objects for some time.
- Spread through the air – When an infected person sneezes or coughs, the live virus spreads through his or her sputum into the air and enters the nostrils of a nearby healthy person, thus infecting that healthy person as well.
Which children are more likely to get the flu?
Children can get the flu if they come in contact with an infected person, if they have not been vaccinated against the flu, or if they do not wash their hands frequently because they touch a lot of objects while playing and have sputum of the virus on those objects.
Children who have a serious illness from the beginning, Such children are more likely to get the flu and need to be admitted to the hospital.
What are the symptoms of flu in children?
The flu is mainly a respiratory illness. But it also affects the whole body. If children have a common cold-cough, they are play well without looking too much ill. But if children have a cold, cough and they are lying in bed, they seem to be infected with the flu.
The symptoms of flu are as follow :
- High fever at 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Too much bodyache.
- Muscle soreness.
- Loss of appetite Dry cough.
- Runny nose.
In the flu, all of the above symptoms appear on the first day of infection.
Babies usually recover from a flu infection in four to five days.
What is the difference between a common cold, cough and flu in children ?
Children often have a frequent cold-cough, so it is important for parents to know exactly what causes their child to have a cold-cough.
A simple cold cough has a low fever. There is a runny nose and a slight headache and body aches. The cough is mild. Sneezing occurs and these types of symptoms appear gradually.
The flu has a high grade fever, Severe body aches and headaches. Cold is mild but dry coughs are frequent and children with the flu are bedridden due to extreme fatigue. Flu symptoms also appear within 24 hours of illness.
A simple cold cough is treated in the outpatient department but sometimes children need to get admitted because the flu has a higher incidence of pneumonia.
How is flu diagnosed in children?
The doctor diagnoses the flu based on your child’s examination and the child’s symptoms you have described. Other tests may be needed depending on the child’s symptoms.
Blood tests, chest X-rays may be needed because the flu can cause pneumonia in children. X-rays show how much pneumonia the child has contracted.
What is treatment of flu in children ?
The treatment of flu is not specific but is treated according to their symptoms to reduce the child’s discomfort.
- If your child has a fever, give paracetamol syrup according to the baby’s weight as 15 mg / kg so that it will reduce the fever and also help to reduce body aches.
- Give your child plenty of water Which will not reduce the amount of water in his body and do not cause dehydration.
- Drinking lukewarm water also reduces sore throat.
- Do not force your child to eat. When his illness gets cured. Then he / she will start eating automatically but keep giving him / her a liquid diet. If your child wants to play when he is sick, let him play. When he does not feel well, he will stay in bed.
- It is important to consult your doctor if you child have severe flu symptoms.
- Doctors may prescribe antiviral drugs if the baby’s illness is severe. But it is beneficial to start this drug in the first two days of illness.
The use of antibiotics in the flu is not beneficial, but sometimes they are given to prevent the child from getting another infection, as the baby’s immune system is very weak at such times, so the risk of getting another infection is high.
What measures are important to prevent the spread of the flu in children ?
- The most important thing is to wash your hands with clean soap so that the infection does not spread from you to others or from others to you.
- It is important to wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or touching your nose and mouth. Washing hands after contact with a person with flu symptoms. Wash your hands after cleaning the baby’s nose.
- Below six months old baby should be kept away from a person having cold cough.
- It is important to wash baby toys occasionally as they can also spread the infection.
- If your child is sneezing, teach them how to use a handkerchief on their nose.
- Wash baby’s clothes.
- If you have been vaccinated against the flu, your child is less likely to get the flu. The flu vaccine is given to babies over six months of age and is given every year. The vaccine changes every year because the virus also changes.
- It is very important to give the flu vaccine to children at high risk, those with heart disease or lung disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to know if a baby has the flu?
From the baby’s symptoms include high fever, cough, and body aches. One can understand that the baby is suffering from flu.
How long can a flu fever last?
The flu usually lasts for a week. Every baby has a different body and immune system, so some babies may have a low fever and some have high grade fever
At what stage can the flu spread?
A patient with the flu can spread the virus 1 day before the onset of symptoms and up to 5 days after the onset of symptoms.
How to get rid of the flu as soon as possible?
The flu can be cured quickly by rest, drinking plenty of water, drinking lukewarm water and taking medicine on time.
Does the flu reduce the ability to smell?
The flu virus can spread to the nasal mucosa and so it can reduce the ability to smell for a few days.
Can a non-fever flu patient spread the flu virus?
Yes. Even without a fever, a flu patient can spread the flu.
Why does the flu symptoms appear at night?
As the levels of the hormone cortisol decrease in the blood at night which lead to white blood cells to increase, which leads to more flu symptoms at night.
When should children be shown to the doctor?
It is best to consult a doctor if a child has flu symptoms and is lethargic.
Should I take a bath when I have the flu?
Although the flu causes fever, it is better to take a bath every day. Bathing in lukewarm water reduces germs on the body and also keeps the body temperature normal.
Is it better to eat orange juice and other fruits when you have flu?
Orange juice contains vitamin C which boosts the body’s immune system quickly. It is also beneficial to eat other fruits.
How to put a baby to sleep if he has the flu?
A baby with the flu should sleep with the head part high so that you can use a pillow under the shoulder. This will make it easier for the baby to breathe.
Timely treatment is very much important when your baby have the flu because the flu turns into pneumonia. Timely treatment can speed up the healing process as well as save hospital expenses.
This article tries to answer as many questions as you have about the flu, but if you have any questions, please comment. If you like flu in children article then be sure to share.