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Influenza In Children, Ambulatory Care

Influenza

(the flu) is an infection caused by the influenza virus. The flu is easily spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or has close contact with others. Your child may be able to spread the flu to others for 1 week or longer after signs or symptoms appear.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Fever and chills
  • Headaches, body aches, earaches, and muscle or joint pain
  • Dry cough, runny or stuffy nose, and sore throat
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Tiredness
  • Fast breathing, trouble breathing, or chest pain

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Fast breathing, trouble breathing, or chest pain
  • A seizure
  • Does not want to be held and does not respond to you, or he does not wake up

Seek immediate care for the following:

  • Fever with a rash
  • Blue or gray skin
  • Symptoms that go away and come back with a fever or a worse cough
  • Refusing to drink liquids, is not urinating, or has no tears when he cries
  • Coughing or vomiting blood

Treatment for influenza

may include any of the following:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Antivirals help fight a viral infection.

Manage your child's symptoms:

  • Help your child rest and sleep as much as possible as he recovers.
  • Give your child liquids as directed to help prevent dehydration. He may need to drink more than usual. Ask your child's healthcare provider how much liquid your child should drink each day. Good liquids include water, fruit juice, or broth.
  • Use a cool mist humidifier to increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for your child to breathe and help decrease his cough.

Prevent the spread of the flu:

  • Have your child wash his hands often. Use soap and water. Encourage him to wash his hands after he uses the bathroom, coughs, or sneezes. Use gel hand cleanser when there is no soap or water available. Teach him not to touch his eyes, nose, or mouth unless he has washed his hands first.
    Handwashing
  • Teach your child to cover his mouth when he sneezes or coughs. Show him how to cough into a tissue or the bend of his arm.
  • Clean shared items with a germ-killing cleaner. Clean table surfaces, doorknobs, and light switches. Do not share towels, silverware, and dishes with people who are sick. Wash bed sheets, towels, silverware, and dishes with soap and water.
  • Wear a mask over your mouth and nose when you are near your sick child.
  • Keep your child home if he is sick. Keep your child away from others as much as possible while he recovers.
  • Influenza vaccine helps prevent influenza (flu). Everyone older than 6 months should get a yearly influenza vaccine. Get the vaccine as soon as it is available, usually in October or November each year.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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