Each winter the flu makes its way to America and wreaks havoc on hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting residents. Children are an at-risk groups for flu complications, according to the Center for Disease Control, and those with health issues such as asthma and diabetes are at an even greater risk for flu-related problems. Once a child comes down with the flu, the duration of the illness depends on several factors.
The flu has been around since ancient civilization. Officially named influenza by Italian astrologers, it has caused countless deaths throughout the world. Historically, the largest killer flu epidemic was the Spanish flu, which killed 27 million between 1918 and 1919.
Flu comes in many varieties, but they all fall into one of two categories: strain A and strain B. During each flu season, one strain is more prevalent than the other. The symptoms of strain A are typically more severe than the symptoms of strain B. Each year, the virus undergoes small changes, and approximately every 20 years, its structure undergoes a major change. Annual flu shots are recommended due to these constant changes. Each year scientists develop vaccines based on those annual changes.
Both children and adults will experience high fevers, muscle aches, headaches, congestion, dry cough and a sore throat. Children with the flu differ from adults in that they are more susceptible to additional symptoms of nausea and diarrhea.
The time frame between exposure to the flu and coming down with it is approximately 72 hours. Children who get the flu are actually contagious 24 hours before they develop symptoms. Once they are sick, they continue to be contagious throughout the illness.To reduce the length of the illness, rest and drink fluids. The flu usually runs its course in five to seven days barring complications. Pneumonia that begins during the flu is often life-threatening, as your body is already in a weak state when it develops. Get medical attention for
Flu shots are recommended for children from 6 months to 19 years old. For their first vaccination, children between 6 months and 9 years old will need two doses spread one month apart. Children who have been previously vaccinated require only one annual injection.
Other strains of flu affect the stomach. Symptoms of this common flu include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Headache and fever can also be present, along with stomach cramping. Duration of this virus is one to 10 days. Stomach viruses are contagious. Children are at an increased risk of complications due to how quickly they can dehydrate. Treatment includes encouraging the child to drink specifically designed oral rehydration liquids such as Pedialite. Treating the fever with a doctor-approved over-the-counter medication is also appropriate. According to the CDC, a vaccine for several of the stomach viruses is available and is recommended for babies and young children. Although it will not prevent the child from getting the illness, it is designed to reduce the severity of symptoms.