The Flu 101

​Flu is the short term for influenza. It is an illness caused by a respiratory virus. The infection can spread rapidly through communities as the virus is passed person to person. When someone with the flu coughs or sneezes, the influenza virus gets into the air, and people nearby, including children, can inhale it. The virus also can be spread when your child touches a contaminated hard surface, such as a door handle, and then places his hand or fingers in his nose/mouth or rubs his eye.

Flu Season
The flu season usually starts in the fall and ends in the spring. When there is an outbreak or epidemic, usually during the winter months, the illness tends to be most pronounced in preschool or school-aged children. Adult caregivers are easily exposed and can come down with the disease. The virus usually is transmitted in the first several days of the illness.

Flu Symptoms
All flu viruses cause a respiratory illness that can last a week or more. Flu symptoms include:

  • A sudden fever (usually above 101°F or 38.3°C)
  • Chills and body shakes
  • Headache, body aches, and being a lot more tired than usual
  • Sore throat
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Stuffy, runny nose
  • Some children may throw up (vomit) and have loose stools (diarrhea).

After the first few days of these symptoms, a sore throat, stuffy nose, and continuing cough become most evident. The flu can last a week or even longer. A child with a common cold usually has only a low-grade fever, a runny nose, and only a small amount of coughing. Children with the flu—or adults, for that matter—usually feel much sicker, achier, and more miserable.

Healthy people, especially children, get over the flu in about a week or two, without any lingering problems. However, you might suspect a complication if your child says that his ear hurts or that he feels pressure in his face and head or if his cough and fever will not go away, talk with your child’s doctor.

Children with Chronic Health Conditions
Children who appear to have the greatest risk of complications from the flu are those with an underlying chronic medical condition, such as heart, lung, or kidney disease, an immune system problem, diabetes mellitus, some blood diseases, or malignancy. As these children may have more severe disease or complications, they should, when possible, avoid other children with the flu or flu-like symptoms. Their pediatrician may suggest additional precautions that should be taken. If your child has flu-like symptoms along with any difficulty breathing, seek medical attention right away. There can be serious complications, even death, from the flu, but thanks to the flu vaccine these are less common.

Flu Treatment
For all children who don’t feel well with the flu, lots of tender loving care is in order. Children may benefit from extra rest and drinking lots of fluids.

If your child is uncomfortable because of a fever, acetaminophen or ibuprofen in doses recommended by your pediatrician for his age and weight will help him feel better. Ibuprofen is approved for use in children six months of age and older; however, it should never be given to children who are dehydrated or who are vomiting continuously.

It is extremely important never to give aspirin to a child who has the flu or is suspected of having the flu. Aspirin during bouts of influenza is associated with an increased risk of developing Reye syndrome.

Flu Prevention
Everyone should get the flu vaccine each year to update their protection. It is the best way to prevent getting the flu. Safe vaccines are made each year and the best time to get the flu vaccine is the late summer/early fall or as soon as it is on hand in your community. Vaccination is especially important for:

  • Children, including infants born preterm, who are 6 months to 5 years of age,
  • Children of any age with chronic medical conditions that increase the risk of complications from the flu
  • Children of American Indian/Alaskan Native heritage
  • All contacts and care providers of children with high risk conditions and children younger than 5 years (especially newborns and infants younger than 6 months because these young infants are not able to receive their own vaccination)
  • All health care personnel
  • All women who are pregnant, are considering pregnancy, have recently delivered, or are breastfeeding during the flu season

The flu virus spreads easily through the air with coughing and sneezing, and through touching things like doorknobs or toys and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Flu Vaccine
Only the Inactivated (killed) vaccine, also called the “flu shot”, given by injection into the muscle, should be used for influenza vaccination this season.

There are two types of inactivated flu vaccine based on the number of flu virus strains it contains: A trivalent (3 strains = two A and one B viruses) and a quadrivalent (4 strains = two A and two B viruses) vaccine. There is no preference for the use of either of these formulations. Any of these vaccines should be given as available in your area.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that an influenza vaccine be given annually to all children starting at six months of age. Children 6 month through 8 years old may need two doses of the vaccine given at least four weeks apart. Children 9 years of age and older only need one dose.

Flu vaccines are especially important for children at high risk for complications from the flu such as those with a chronic disease such as asthma, heart disease, decreased immune system function due to a primary condition or from medications such as steroids, renal disease, or diabetes mellitus.

All eligible children may receive the inactivated flu shot. All also adults should receive the flu vaccine yearly; this is especially important for adults who live in the same household as someone who has a high risk for flu complications or who care for children under the age of five.

Side Effects
The flu vaccine has few side effects, the most common being fever and redness, soreness or swelling at the injection site.

Although flu vaccines are produced using eggs, influenza vaccines have been shown to have minimal egg protein so that all children with presumed or confirmed egg allergy may still safely receive the flu vaccine unless they have had an allergic reaction specifically to the flu vaccine before. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions.

Antivirals
Antiviral medications are available by prescription to treat an influenza infection. Your pediatrician can help decide whether or not to treat the flu with an antiviral medicine. Antiviral medications work best if started within the first 1 to 2 days of showing signs of the flu. However, in some children with increased risk for influenza complications, treatment could be started later.

Call your pediatrician within 24 hours of the first flu symptom to ask about antiviral medications if your child:

  • Has an underlying health problem like asthma, diabetes, sickle cell disease, or cerebral palsy
  • Is younger than 6 month old.
  • Is younger than 5 years old, especially if less than 2 years old

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2017). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


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The Common Cold

Rhinovirus Infections
More than any other illness, rhinoviruses (rhin means “nose”) are associated with the common cold. Rhinoviruses may also cause some sore throats, ear infections, sinus infections, and to a lesser degree, pneumonia and bronchiolitis (infection of the small breathing passages of the lungs).

The average child has 8 to 10 colds during the first 2 years of her life. If she spends time in child care settings where she’ll be exposed to other children with colds, she may catch even more colds.

Rhinoviruses are spread easily through person-to-person contact. When a child with a rhinovirus infection has a runny nose, nasal secretions get onto her hands and from there onto tables, toys, and other surfaces. Your child might touch the hands or skin of another youngster or toys that have been contaminated by the virus and then touch her own eyes or nose, infecting herself. She might breathe in airborne viruses spread by a sneeze or cough.

Although your child can develop a cold at any time of the year, these infections are most common during autumn and spring.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of the common cold are familiar to everyone. Your child’s cold may start with a watery, runny nose that has a clear discharge. Later, the discharge becomes thicker and is often colored brownish, gray, or greenish. This colored nasal discharge is normal as the child begins to get over the cold.

Children may also develop symptoms such as

  • Sneezing
  • A mild fever (101°F–102°F or 38.3°C–38.9°C)
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches
  • A decrease in appetite

In some children, pus will appear on the tonsils, which could be a sign of a streptococcal infection

The incubation period for a rhinovirus infection is usually 2 to 3 days. Symptoms generally persist for 10 to 14 days, sometimes less.

What You Can Do

When your child has a cold, make sure she gets enough rest. She should drink extra fluid if she has fever. If she is uncomfortable, talk to your pediatrician about giving her acetaminophen to reduce her fever. Don’t give her over-the-counter cold remedies or cough medicines without first checking with your doctor. These over-the-counter medicines do not kill the virus and, in most circumstances, do not help with the symptoms.

When to Call Your Pediatrician

If your infant is 3 months or younger and develops cold symptoms, contact your pediatrician. Complications ranging from pneumonia to bronchiolitis are much more likely to develop in very young children.

Older youngsters generally don’t need to be seen by a pediatrician when they have a cold. Nevertheless, contact your doctor if your older youngster has symptoms such as

  • Lips or nails that turn blue
  • Noisy or difficult breathing
  • A persistent cough
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Ear pain, which may indicate an ear infection

How Is the Diagnosis Made?

Colds are typically diagnosed by observing your child’s symptoms. In general, it is impractical to conduct laboratory tests to identify the organism that may be infecting a child with cold symptoms.
Treatment

Most rhinovirus infections are mild and do not require any specific treatment. Antibiotics are not effective against the common cold and other viral infections.

What Is the Prognosis?

Most colds go away on their own without complications.

Prevention

Keep an infant younger than 3 months from having close contact with children or adults who have colds.

Make sure your child washes her hands frequently, which will reduce the chances of getting the virus.


Source: Immunizations &Infectious Diseases: An Informed Parent’s Guide (Copyright ©American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


Common Health Problems at College

With students living together in dorms and apartments, eating together in cafeterias, and sitting together in classrooms, illnesses and infections can spread easily. Here is a brief guide to common illnesses and what you should do if you get one.

COLS & FLU
These are caused by viruses. While sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between them, colds usually cause milder symptoms than the flu. Common cold symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Mild fevers

Flu symptoms include:

  • Higher fever (commonly above 102°F or 39°C)
  • Body aches
  • Dry cough
  • Upset stomach or vomiting

What you can do: The most you can do is rest, drink a lot of fluids, and treat the symptoms. You can try using over-the-counter cold and flu medicines or fever and pain medicines. They may help you feel better. However, do not take aspirin when you have the flu. Your pediatrician or the student health service can suggest which medicines may help your symptoms, as well as answer your questions.

Some types of the flu can be treated with antiviral agents, but you have to take them during the first or second day of the illness, and a prescription is required. They can help you feel better faster.

Prevention: These tips can help lower your risk of getting a cold or the flu.

  • Wash your hands often!
  • Get a flu vaccine each fall.

STREP THROAT, SINUS INFECTIONS, EAR INFECTIONS
These are caused by bacteria. Symptoms may include:

  • A very sore throat
  • Pain in your ears or sinuses
  • A persistent fever

What you can do: If you have these symptoms, go to the student health service. The staff will be able to tell you what the problem is and give you antibiotics if you need them. If you need to take antibiotics, take them exactly as you are told and be sure to take all of them. If you don’t, the infection can come back.

Prevention: Avoid close contact with anyone who has an infection. That means no kissing or sharing drinks or utensils with someone who is ill. See your doctor for regular checkups.

MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE
A common form of this is meningitis. This disease can infect the brain, the spinal cord, blood, or a combination of these. Symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Severe headache
  • A flat, pink, red, or purple rash
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light

What you can do: It is important to seek medical treatment right away. The disease can be fatal or may result in permanent brain damage or lifelong problems with the nervous system.

Prevention: The meningococcal vaccine is recommended for teens 11 through 18 years of age and for college freshmen living in dorms. The vaccine is effective against most, but not all, strains of the bacteria that cause this infection.

BRUISES, SPRINGS & STRAINS
These are very common and are usually not very serious. Here’s how to tell the difference between them:

  • Bruises cause the skin to turn purple, brown, or red in color.
  • Strains are injuries to muscles and tendons that result from too much or sudden stretching.
  • Sprains are injuries to the ligaments, the connecting tissue between bones.

What you can do:
Use the RICE method of treatment.

  • Rest—especially for the first 24 hours.
  • Ice—put ice packs or cold gel packs on the injury for 20 minutes every 4 hours.
  • Compression—wrap the injured body part in an elastic bandage.
  • Elevation—for example, if you have sprained your ankle, prop your foot up on pillows to keep it at a level higher than your heart.

Visit the student health service if your pain or swelling does not get better in 1 to 2 days or if you are unable to put any weight on the injured area.

Prevention:

  • Being physically active is a great way to stay healthy, but be smart and avoid injuries by
  • Using the right safety gear (such as pads and helmets).
  • Warming up and cooling down. Stretch out before and after you exercise or play a sport.
  • Taking breaks. Don’t exercise or play through pain.

MONONUCLEOSIS (“Mono”)
College students often worry about a disease called “mono” — also known as “the kissing disease.” Mono is caused by a virus. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph nodes (glands) in the neck
  • Extreme tiredness

What you can do: If you have a sore throat or bad flu that doesn’t go away in a week to 10 days, see your doctor. Mono is diagnosed by a blood test called the monospot test. There is no specific treatment for mono; just get plenty of rest and eat a healthy diet.

Don’t Ignore These Symptoms. Call the Student Health Service Right Away If You Have:

  • A fever of 102°F (39°C) or higher
  • A headache and a stiff neck
  • Pain with urination
  • An unusual discharge from your penis or vagina
  • A change in your menstrual cycle
  • Pain in the abdomen that will not go away
  • A persistent cough, chest pain, or trouble breathing
  • Pain or any other symptoms that worry you or last longer than you think they should

Source: Health Care for College Students (Copyright © 2007 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 4/07). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


The Flu: FAQ

flu

What is the flu?
The influenza (flu) virus causes serious illness that may result in hospitalization or death. It mostly affects the breathing system but may also affect the whole body. The flu season usually starts in the fall and ends in the spring. Talk with your doctor about getting vaccinated at the start of the season (late summer or early fall) so that you are protected during the whole season. People can get the flu more than once per season and many times in their lives. Influenza viruses are unpredictable. They are always changing over time and from year to year. As many as 4 flu viruses are expected to make children sick again this flu season.

What are signs of the flu?
All flu viruses cause a respiratory illness that can last a week or more. Flu symptoms include:

  • A sudden fever (usually above 101°F [38.3°C])
  • Chills and body shakes
  • Headache, body aches, and being a lot more tired than usual
  • Sore throat
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Stuffy, runny nose

Some children may vomit and have diarrhea. Talk with your child’s doctor if your child has ear pain, a cough that will not go away, or a fever that will not go away. There can be serious complications, even death, from the flu, but these are uncommon.

How do I keep flu germs from spreading?
The flu virus spreads easily through the air with coughing and sneezing or through touching things such as doorknobs or toys and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Here are some tips that will help protect your family from getting sick.

  • Everyone should wash their hands often. You can use soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. That is about as long as singing the “Happy Birthday” song 2 times. An alcohol-based hand cleanser or sanitizer works well too. Put enough on your hands to make them wet. Then rub them together until dry.
  • Teach your children to cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Show your children how to cough into the elbow or upper sleeve (not a hand) or use a tissue.
  • Throw used tissues into the trash right away.
  • Wash dishes and utensils in hot, soapy water or the dishwasher.
  • Do not share items such as toothbrushes, pacifiers, cups, spoons, forks, washcloths, or towels.
  • Teach your children to try not to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Wash doorknobs, toilet handles, countertops, and toys. Use a disinfectant wipe or a cloth with soap and hot water to help kill germs.

What if my child gets the flu?

Call the doctor right away if your child shows any signs of the flu and:

  • Is 3 months or younger and has a fever
  • Has fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Looks very sick
  • Is more sleepy than usual
  • Is very fussy no matter what you do
  • Cannot or will not drink anything
  • Urinates very little

You should also call the doctor if your child shows signs of the flu and has a chronic medical condition, such as: Asthma, diabetes, or heart problems; Sickle cell disease, cancer, HIV, or another disease that makes it hard to fight infections; Cerebral palsy or other neurologic disorders of the brain and muscles that make it harder to cough up mucus and breathe; Morbid obesity (being very overweight).

Go to the emergency department right away if your child Has signs of the flu that keep getting worse, Has blue skin color, or Will not wake up at all

Should I keep my child home from school?
Keep your child home from school or child care when she has a fever and other signs of the flu. Your child needs rest. Plus, your child might give the flu to other children.

When can my child go back to school?
Your child should stay home until at least 24 hours after his fever is gone. Start counting time after you stop giving your child fever medicines, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. A temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher is a sign of fever. Check with your child’s school or child care center to find out its rules about children staying home when they are ill.


Last Updated 9/9/2015. Source Seasonal Influenza (Flu) 2015–2016 (Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

How to Manage Colds and Flu

flu-boy

Make sure your child gets extra rest and fluids. Ask your child’s doctor about treatments for:

Stuffy Nose

  • Use saltwater (saline) nose drops or spray. For infants, use a rubber suction bulb to suck out the extra drops or spray.
  • Put a cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer in your child’s room. Clean the machine every day.

Cough

  • For children ages 1 to 5 years, try half a teaspoon of honey. Do not give honey to babies under one year—it is not safe.
  • Try one teaspoon of honey for children 6 to 11, and two teaspoons for children 12 or older.
  • Consider cough drops for children 4 and older.

Fever

  • Do not give your child aspirin, which has been linked to a rare but serious illness in children.
  • Up to age 6 months, give only acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic).
  • After 6 months, you can give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and generic).
  • Ask the doctor for the right medicine and dose for your child’s age and size.

Flu Vaccine

  • Children 6 months or older should get a flu vaccine each year.
  • For younger children, make sure the people around them have the flu vaccine.

Over-the-Counter Cough & Cold Medicines

  • Do not give these to children under age 4.
  • Many cold medicines already have acetaminophen in them, so beware of double dosing.

If Antibiotics Are Prescribed

Make sure children take them as directed, even if they feel better. If antibiotic treatment stops too soon, the infection may get worse or spread in the body. Call the doctor if your child is not getting better with treatment.


This consumer information is part of the Choosing Wisely communications program and has been developed by Consumer Reports in collaboration with AAP and is being provided by HealthyChildren.org with the permission of Consumer Reports.. Last Updated 11/10/2014. Source Copyright © 2012 Consumer Reports. Developed in cooperation with the American Academy of Pediatrics. The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Helping Your Child Develop A Healthy Sense of Self Esteem

selfesteem

How can we help our child develop a healthy sense of self-esteem?
By definition, self-esteem is the way in which an individual perceives herself-in other words, her own thoughts and feelings about herself and her ability to achieve in ways that are important to her. This self-esteem is shaped not only by a child’s own perceptions and expectations, but also by the perceptions and expectations of significant people in her life-how she is thought of and treated by parents, teachers and friends. The closer her perceived self (how she sees herself) comes to her ideal self (how she would like to be), the higher her self-esteem.

For healthy self-esteem, children need to develop or acquire some or all of the following characteristics:

  • A sense of security. Your child must feel secure about herself and her future. (“What will become of me?”)
  • A sense of belonging. Your youngster needs to feel accepted and loved by others, beginning with the family and then extending to groups such as friends, schoolmates, sports teams, a church or temple and even a neighborhood or community. Without this acceptance or group identity, she may feel rejected, lonely, and adrift without a “home,” “family” or “group.”
  • A sense of purpose. Your child should have goals that give her purpose and direction and an avenue for channeling her energy toward achievement and self-expression. If she lacks a sense of purpose, she may feel bored, aimless, even resentful at being pushed in certain directions by you or others.
  • A sense of personal competence and pride. Your child should feel confident in her ability to meet the challenges in her life. This sense of personal power evolves from having successful life experiences in solving problems independently, being creative and getting results for her efforts. Setting appropriate expectations, not too low and not too high, is critical to developing competence and confidence. If you are overprotecting her, and if she is too dependent on you, or if expectations are so high she never succeeds, she may feel powerless and incapable of controlling the circumstances in her life.
  • A sense of trust. Your child needs to feel trust in you and in herself. Toward this goal, you should keep promises, be supportive and give your child opportunities to be trustworthy. This means believing your child, and treating her as an honest person.
  • A sense of responsibility. Give your child a chance to show what she is capable of doing. Allow her to take on tasks without being checked on all the time. This shows trust on your part, a sort of “letting go” with a sense of faith.
  • A sense of contribution. Your child will develop a sense of importance and commitment if you give her opportunities to participate and contribute in a meaningful way to an activity. Let her know that she really counts.
  • A sense of making real choices and decisions. Your child will feel empowered and in control of events when she is able to make or influence decisions that she considers important. These choices and decisions need to be appropriate for her age and abilities, and for the family’s values.
  • A sense of self-discipline and self-control. As your child is striving to achieve and gain more independence, she needs and wants to feel that she can make it on her own. Once you give her expectations, guidelines, and opportunities in which to test herself, she can reflect, reason, problem-solve and consider the consequences of the actions she may choose. This kind of self-awareness is critical for her future growth.
  • A sense of encouragement, support and reward. Not only does your child need to achieve, but she also needs positive feedback and recognition – a real message that she is doing well, pleasing others and “making it.” Encourage and praise her, not only for achieving a set goal but also for her efforts, and for even small increments of change and improvement. (“I like the way you waited for your turn,” “Good try; you’re working harder,” “Good girl!”) Give her feedback as soon as possible to reinforce her self-esteem and to help her connect your comments to the activity involved.
  • A sense of accepting mistakes and failure. Your child needs to feel comfortable, not defeated, when she makes mistakes or fails. Explain that these hurdles or setbacks are a normal part of living and learning, and that she can learn or benefit from them. Let your supportive, constructive feedback and your recognition of her effort overpower any sense of failure, guilt, or shame she might be feeling, giving her renewed motivation and hope. Again, make your feedback specific (“If you throw the ball like this, it might help”) and not negative and personal (“You are so clumsy,” “You’ll never make it”).
  • A sense of family self-esteem. Your child’s self-esteem initially develops within the family and thus is influenced greatly by the feelings and perceptions that a family has of itself. Some of the preceding comments apply to the family in building its self-esteem. Also, bear in mind that family pride is essential to self-esteem and can be nourished and maintained in many ways, including participation or involvement in community activities, tracing a family’s heritage and ancestors, or caring for extended family members. Families fare better when members focus on each other’s strengths, avoid excessive criticism and stick up for one another outside the family setting. Family members believe in and trust each other, respect their individual differences and show their affection for each other. They make time for being together, whether to share holidays, special events or just to have fun.

 


Last Updated 3/3/2014. Source Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Preventing the Spread of Illness

flu-boy

Wherever children are together, the risk of spreading infectious diseases exists, especially among infants and toddlers who are likely to put their hands and toys into their mouths and then share their toys.

To reduce the risk of becoming sick, your child, childcare providers, and all the children being cared for must be up-to-date with the recommended immunizations against diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b, pneumococcus, hepatitis A, and the flu if eligible for the vaccine.

Even though your child has had his immunizations, he can get other infectious diseases common in youngsters such as colds, sore throats, coughs, vomiting, and diarrhea. For example, the viruses responsible for colds or the flu cause the most common sicknesses in childcare facilities and schools. In fact, most children in child care and school settings have as many as 8 to 12 colds a year. Diarrhea episodes occur once or twice a year in the typical child.

Reducing Disease Transmission

In many childcare programs, as well as public and private schools, parents are contacted right away when their child shows signs of even a mild illness, like a cold. In others, a child is allowed to stay at the facility as long as he doesn’t have a fever and can take part in most activities. Either way, be certain that the school or caregiver has a way to reach you at all times—make your phone numbers at home and work available, as well as your cell phone number.

In many child care facilities and schools, the staff simply cannot care for a sick child, although in others, the child is kept comfortable in a separate area so a cold, a cough, or diarrhea doesn’t spread throughout the facility. In these programs, a staff member is trained to care for ill children, often in a “get-well room” where they won’t pass the disease to others. There may also be a place to lie down while remaining within sight of a staff member if a youngster needs to rest. In some communities, special sick child care centers have been established for children with mild illnesses who should be kept apart from healthy youngsters.

You can help prevent the spread of infectious diseases by keeping your contagious child home from school or childcare until he can no longer spread his illness to others. Children should be kept home when they have

  • Diarrhea or stools that contain blood or mucus
  • An illness that caused vomiting 2 or more times during the previous 24 hours, unless the vomiting is known to be caused by a condition that’s not contagious
  • Mouth sores with drooling, unless caused by a noncontagious condition
  • Impetigo (a skin infection with erupting sores) until 24 hours after treatment has been started
  • Head lice (until after proper treatment has been given)
  • Scabies (an itchy skin condition caused by mites) until after treatment has been given
  • Conditions that suggest the possible presence of a more serious illness, including a fever, sluggishness, persistent crying, irritability, or difficulty breathing

Even with all these safety measures, it is likely that some infections will be spread in the childcare center. For many of these infections, a child is contagious a day or more before he has symptoms. That is another reason why it is important to wash your and his hands frequently. You never know when your child or another child is passing a virus or bacteria.

Fortunately, not all illnesses are contagious (eg, ear infections). In these cases there’s no need to separate your sick youngster from the other children. If he’s feeling well enough to be at child care or school, he can attend as long as a staff member can give him any medication he’s taking. Sometimes your child will become sick while at child care and need to go home. You will need to have a plan so someone can pick him up.

Last Updated 7/31/2013. Source Adapted from Immunizations & Infectious Diseases: An Informed Parent’s Guide (Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

News from Pediatrics Plus

flu-girl

Flu Clinics 2013
Flu season is headed our way. Call the office to schedule an appointment for your children’s shots. It only takes 5 minutes to protect your family!

Saturday, November 9, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, November 12, 3 – 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 16, 9 – 1 p.m.
Monday, November 18, 3 – 7 p.m.
Thursday, November 21, 3 – 7 p.m.

pink ribbon

Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In support of national efforts to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services, Pediatrics Plus is going pink on Thursday, October 24th! We hope you’ll consider joining us!

What if my child gets the flu?

flu-three

Call the doctor right away if your child shows any signs of the flu and:

  • Is 3 months or younger and has a fever
  • Has fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Looks very sick
  • Is more sleepy than usual
  • Is very fussy no matter what you do
  • Cannot or will not drink anything
  • Urinates (pees) very little

You should also call the doctor if your child shows signs of the flu and has a chronic medical condition, like:

  • Asthma, diabetes, or heart problems
  • Sickle cell disease, cancer, HIV, or another disease that makes it hard to fight infections
  • Cerebral palsy or other neurologic disorders of the brain and muscles that make it harder to cough up mucus and breathe
  • Morbid obesity (being very overweight)

Go to the emergency department right away if your child:

  • Has signs of the flu that keep getting worse
  • Has blue skin color
  • Will not wake up at all

Drugs to treat the flu
The doctor may be able to treat the flu with an antiviral medicine. These drugs work best if your child gets them within the first 1 to 2 days of showing signs of the flu. Call the doctor within 24 hours to ask about antiviral drugs if your child is at high risk of influenza complications because he:

  • Has any serious health problem like asthma, diabetes, sickle cell disease, or cerebral palsy
  • Is younger than 2 years, but especially if younger than 6 months. (Young children are at an increased risk of influenza infection, hospitalization, and complications.)

Help your child feel better

  • Extra rest and a lot of fluids can help your child feel better. You can also give your child medicine to bring down the fever.
  • For a baby 6 months or younger, give acetaminophen. Tylenol is one brand of acetaminophen.
  • For a child older than 6 months, give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Advil and Motrin are brands of ibuprofen.
  • Never give any child aspirin. Aspirin puts the child at risk for Reye syndrome, a serious illness that affects the liver and brain.

Keep your child home
Keep your child home from school or child care when she has a fever and other signs of the flu. Your child needs rest. Also, your child can give the flu to other children. Your child should stay home at least 24 hours after his fever is gone. Start counting time after you stop giving your child fever medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. A temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher is a sign of fever. Check with your child’s school or child care center to find out its rules about children staying home when they are ill.

Last Updated 11/30/2012
Source Seasonal Influenza 2012-2013 (Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics)

So, what is the flu, anyway?

flu-boy
 
The influenza (flu) virus causes serious illness that may result in hospitalization or death. It mostly affects the breathing system, but may also affect the whole body. The flu season usually starts in the fall and ends in the spring. Talk with your doctor about getting vaccinated at the start of the season (late summer/early fall) so that you are protected year-round.
 
People can get the flu more than once per year and many times in their lives. Influenza viruses are unpredictable. They are always changing over time and from year to year. Three seasonal flu viruses are expected to make children sick again this flu season.
 
Signs of the Flu
All flu viruses cause a respiratory illness that can last a week or more. Flu symptoms include:
 
• A sudden fever (usually above 101°F or 38.3°C)
• Chills and body shakes
• Headache, body aches, and being a lot more tired than usual
• Sore throat
• Dry, hacking cough
• Stuffy, runny nose
 
Some children may throw up (vomit) and have loose stools (diarrhea). Talk with your child’s doctor if your child has ear pain, a cough that won’t go away, or a fever that won’t go away. There can be serious complications, even death, from the flu, but these are uncommon.
 
Last Updated 11/30/2012. Source Seasonal Influenza 2012-2013 (Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics)