Viral flu or Influenza is one of the most common and significant causes of respiratory infections worldwide. As many as 1 in 3 children, seeking treatment for flu – like illnesses, at the peak of flu season ( December to February), are at the risk of complications like pneumonia and bronchitis.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
High fever, chills, myalgia, headache, fatigue, nasal congestion, non-productive cough, conjunctivitis and sometimes diarrhoea.
MODE OF SPREAD
The Influenza virus spreads through coughing, sneezing or touching objects used by infected person.eg: Handkerchief or towels
Mostly clinical, based on examination findings. In some cases, your Paediatrician may recommend a complete blood count or a nasal swab test to confirm it.
It is mostly supportive, in the form of
- Acetaminophen for fever
- Steam Inhalation
- Saline nebulization
- Oral or IV Fluids, if oral intake is reduced.
- Anti-viral therapy with Oseltamivir, in severe cases
- Antibiotics – don’t have a role in most cases.
Regular handwashing and personal hygiene help prevent infections from spreading. It is difficult though to prevent infections from spreading amongst family members and in school.
The flu vaccine can help reduce or prevent viral influenza. It can be given to children over 6 months of age. It is effective for up to 1 year after vaccination. It is recommended for children with recurrent viral respiratory infections, especially when they start school or daycare.
It is an inactivated vaccine and may cause fever up to 2 days after vaccination. It is to be avoided for children with an egg allergy.
Specialist Paediatrician & Neonatologist
Aster Clinic, Al Muteena (DMPC)