During the winter season, In addition to enjoying cozy mornings and shorter days, addressing the issue of seasonal flu becomes a significant priority for many households. Seasonal flu, although a prevalent ailment, can be incredibly exhausting and typically occurs at the beginning of winter. Even a slight drop in temperature during the night can result in a severely ill child the next morning, experiencing symptoms such as a persistent cough and a runny nose. Therefore, it is essential to familiarize ourselves with all the aspects of flu in children.
How is seasonal flu different from a common cold?
Both individuals may experience nasal congestion and coughing, however, it is important to note that seasonal flu and the common cold are distinct conditions. According to experts in the fields of allergy, pediatric intensive care, and sleep medicine, the causes of these ailments differ. The flu is caused by the Influenza virus, whereas the common cold may be the result of other viral infections such as RSV, Rhino-, Entero-, or Adeno-viruses.
Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that colds may not be as severe, and children may only exhibit symptoms such as coughing, a sore throat, sneezing, or nasal congestion. Colds can occur at any time and in any place. Conversely, seasonal flu is more prevalent during periods of changing weather and is characterized by high-grade fever, intense body aches, headaches, and fatigue. Fever may be accompanied by chills, and individuals may experience coughing and difficulty breathing. Mild nasal symptoms may also be present.
The duration of recovery differs depending on the illness. Influenza symptoms can persist for more than 14 days, while a typical cold should subside within a maximum of 5 to 7 days. Medical attention may be necessary for the flu, but a common cold usually resolves on its own.
When is a seasonal flu in kids dangerous?
IIn the event that your child presents with a cough, runny nose, and body ache, it is imperative to take note of specific signs. A medical professional clarifies that these signs may encompass a high-grade fever, persistent cough, rapid or shallow breathing, chest retractions, bluish discoloration of the lips or arms, cold extremities, severe headache, decreased appetite, lethargy or inactivity, increased irritability, or a general sense of unwellness. If your child displays any of these symptoms, it is vital to promptly seek medical assistance at a pediatric facility.
In addition, it is important to consider that the presence of other chronic conditions such as asthma, immunodeficiency, kidney, liver, or heart issues, or the use of long-term medications that may weaken the immune system can exacerbate the complications caused by the flu.
How infectious is the seasonal flu in children
If your child frequently becomes ill, it is likely due to exposure to other children at school. Influenza is highly contagious and can easily spread, resulting in multiple students falling ill in the same classroom. The primary method of transmission is through droplets expelled during coughing or sneezing when infected individuals are in close proximity to healthy children. This rapid spread can occur in crowded environments such as schools, indoor play areas, and cafeterias. Additionally, the virus can be transmitted through contact with contaminated hands.
Tips to avoid seasonal flu in kids
It is advisable to prioritize prevention over cure, and there exist numerous uncomplicated and effective methods to enhance one’s immunity and well-being, thereby evading seasonal influenza. Additionally, it is crucial to consider fundamental hygiene practices.
- The most effective method of prevention against the flu is through vaccination. It is recommended that children aged between 6 months to 5 years receive the Influenza vaccine on a yearly basis.
- It is crucial to embrace a healthy lifestyle as it significantly contributes to the overall well-being of a child.
- The promotion of regular hand washing is highly encouraged.
- It is imperative for children to cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Proper disposal of used tissues is of utmost importance.
- It is advisable to refrain from frequently touching one’s eyes, mouth, and nose.
- It is essential to steer clear of close interactions with individuals who are ill, and children should be kept at a distance from family members who are experiencing flu symptoms.
Tips for at-home treatment of seasonal flu
- Sufficient hydration is essential for a successful recovery and promotes overall health and well-being.
- Therapeutic measures such as antipyretic medication for fever and warm saline gargles can be beneficial.
- The ambient temperature should be maintained within a comfortable range of 22-24°C, creating a tranquil environment free from noise.
- Sufficient rest should be provided to the child, aiding in the reinforcement of the immune system.
- A cough syrup or antimicrobial agent may be employed, but it is imperative to seek guidance from a physician before usage.