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What to Do If Your Child Gets Sick with the Flu

January 22, 2020

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children younger than five have a greater chance of having problems with the flu. The CDC estimates that between 6,000 and 26,000 children younger than five years have been hospitalized each year in the United States because of influenza.

Additionally, children with a long term condition such as asthma and diabetes are also more likely to have severe problems if they get the flu. The only way to help prevent the flu is by getting the flu vaccine.

Unlike a cold, the following flu symptoms come on fast: 

  • Fever
  • Cough, sore throat,
  • Runny or stuffy nose,
  • Body aches, headache,
  • Chills
  • Feeling tired

Some people with the flu will not have a fever and some people will have vomiting and diarrhea, but this is more common in children than adults.

The CDC advises that most children will get better without needing to go to the doctor. A child of any age with severe signs of the flu should go to the doctor. Some medicines sold in stores (over-the-counter) are approved for children to make them feel better. You should call your doctor to make sure these medicines are okay. Note: you should never give aspirin to a child who might have the flu.

To reduce the spread of the flu, keep your sick child at home until at least 24 hours after the fever is gone without the use of medicine to lower a fever. Make sure your child drinks plenty of liquids and gets some rest. If possible, separate them from other family members and don’t allow them to share food or drinks with others.

If you have any questions or need additional information about the flu, contact your child’s pediatrician or make an appointment with the General Pediatric Clinic at Arkansas Children’s in Little Rock by calling 501-364-1202 or for an appointment at Arkansas Children’s Northwest call 479-725-6995

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