The holiday season may be over, but that doesn’t mean flu and cold season is, too. In fact, thousands will pour in to emergency departments across the country over the next few weeks for flu-related symptoms.
While we’re all at an increased risk of catching the flu during the colder months, children, especially those with other diseases, are the most vulnerable. Let’s discuss with one of our physicians, Dr. Matt Young, how to best identify symptoms of flu in children, common flu misconceptions and the best preventative measures against flu.
The flu isn’t deadly, right? So I don’t need to take my child into the emergency room if they appear to have the flu.
A common misconception about flu is that it isn’t deadly, or much different from the common cold in terms of severity. This couldn’t be further from the truth, says Dr. Young. While the vast majority of individuals with flu will heal and be able to return to their normal routines, if the flu is ignored in children, it can cause serious, even life-threatening symptoms.
This is especially true for children with other diseases, which may impair their ability to fight illness like asthma, diabetes or autoimmune conditions. At Texarkana Emergency Center, we believe it’s always better to be cautious when it comes to your child’s health. Come bring in your child if you’re unsure about whether or not they may have influenza.
When should I bring my child into an ER with flu?
It can be difficult to know when your child should be going into an emergency room, but if they have any of these symptoms, it’s time to take them to see a physician, says Dr. Young.
- High fever
- Signs of dehydration like dry mouth and sallow skin
- Decreased alertness
- Extreme fatigue
- Signs of secondary infection like difficulty breathing, which may mean pneumonia
But how do I know if it’s the flu or just a nasty cold?
The cold has more limited symptoms, like runny nose, congestion, and coughing. The flu tends to present with symptoms that affect the entire body, like fever, congestion, fatigue, head and body aches, dehydration and nausea. If left untreated, the flu may also lead to other infections because of a run-down immune system, says Dr. Young.
Is the flu more dangerous for my child than for myself, or another grown adult?
A child is more susceptible to flu and flu-related complications than an adult, says Dr. Young. Their bodies have fewer reserves against illnesses, like flu, and are more likely to become dehydrated, and develop secondary infections, like pneumonia.
What are the best preventative measures against flu?
Make sure you’re vaccinating your child every year against the newest flu strains and teaching them regular hygiene, like hand washing. If they’re sick, they need to stay home and be excused from all regular activities. Otherwise, you risk worsening symptoms and exposing other children to their illness, says Dr. Young.
Don’t take chances when it comes to your child’s health. Come to our emergency facility for fast, compassionate and individualized care and leave with a peace of mind.
How were your holidays? Still in a food coma? Let us know!
Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Texarkana Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.