Brenner Children’s Flu Information
What is the flu?
The flu is a virus that causes fever and affects the respiratory system. In most winters, we see one or two types of flu viruses. All persons ≥ 6 months are recommended to get the annual flu vaccine to protect themselves from becoming ill with the flu.
How do I avoid getting the flu?
To prevent the spread of the flu, experts at Brenner Children’s Hospital recommend that you cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw it away immediately and avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose. Hand washing is extremely important, as germs can live on surfaces and countertops and are easily shared when you touch your face after coming into contact with these germs. Avoiding close contact with sick people should also help in preventing illness.
What do I do if I get the flu?
If you have symptoms of the flu, experts at Brenner Children’s Hospital encourage you to stay home to decrease the chances that others will contract the flu. Experts say you should remain home for 24 hours after your fever is gone. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing and throw away any used tissues immediately. You should contact your pediatrician if your child runs a high fever for more than three days or if they have any of the symptoms noted in the section on seeking emergency care. Additionally, if your child is under five years of age or has an underlying lung, heart, kidney, liver, blood or neurologic disease, they may be at high risk for serious complications due to the flu and you should call your doctor when they first start developing respiratory symptoms with fever.
What are the symptoms of flu?
Flu symptoms can include: fatigue, fever, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, headache, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea, according to the experts at Brenner Children’s Hospital.
When should I seek emergency care?
If you or your child has any of the following signs or symptoms, please seek medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Bluish or gray skin color
- Flu-like symptoms initially improve but then return with fever and worsening cough
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Excessive irritability (child not wanting to be held)
- Difficulty waking up or not interacting
- Not drinking enough fluids
- A high fever that does not respond to acetaminophen (Tylenol). Children with the flu should not be given products containing aspirin as this may predispose them to develop Reyes syndrome which causes problems in the liver and brain.
Flu vaccine is currently available.
- All persons ≥ 6 months are recommended to receive the annual flu vaccine.
Can I take medicine to prevent the spread of flu while breastfeeding?
It is OK for mothers who are breastfeeding to take medicines to prevent the flu.
Can I take the flu shot?
Mothers who are breastfeeding and women who are pregnant are STRONGLY recommended to get the seasonal flu vaccine.
How do I help keep my children well?
The annual flu vaccine is recommended for all persons ≥ 6 months of age. Getting the flu vaccine for all eligible family members is the best way to protect your family. Another big step in the right direction is to remind your children to wash their hands often. Show children the proper way to clean their hands. Remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw that tissue away immediately. Also ask them to stay away from other sick people. Set a good example for them by washing your hands frequently (especially before eating). Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose. Have a back-up plan in place to care for your children if you or your spouse becomes sick.