It is necessary for parents to be acquainted with the flu symptoms observed in children in order to treat the infection at the earliest and to prevent further complications. The upcoming article aims at enlightening you in this regard.
Influenza, commonly known as flu, is an acute form of viral infection that affects the respiratory tract. Initially, the infection occurs in the upper part of the respiratory tract, i.e., in the nose and throat. Later on, it may spread to the lungs. Children are susceptible to this viral attack particularly in the cold months, i.e., between November and March.
The influenza virus is highly contagious in nature, and it spreads rapidly from one infected child to another when they spend time together in the classroom and playground. It is transmitted when the liquid secretions, that are released into the air while coughing or sneezing, are inhaled by non-infected children. It also passes on upon sharing items, like toys, remotes, spoons, etc., that are contaminated with the flu secretions of the infected child. Some of the most prevalent symptoms of flu, found in small children, have been discussed in the following passages. Apart from this, some treatment options have also been provided.
Symptoms of flu in children are quite similar to that of common cold. However, flu symptoms are comparatively more severe in nature. Mentioned below are the most identifiable ones.
High Grade Fever
☛ A high fever is one of the earliest symptoms observed in small children. A rise in body temperature is actually an indication of the fact that the body is trying to eliminate the germs from the system.
☛ The body temperature mostly varies between 100ºF and 104ºF, and it tends to fluctuate from time to time. When it is high, the child may have a flushed face, but as it goes down, he/she may experience chills.
☛ If your child is less than 6 months old, then he/she should be immediately rushed to the doctor if the body temperature is found to be above 100ºF. Toddlers and older children require medical intervention when the temperature goes beyond 103ºF.
Pains and Aches
• As soon as the fever sets in, children start complaining about pain in various parts of the body. Usually, the muscles of the arms, legs, and thighs become painful and tends to hurt them a lot.
• When the fever is high, they experience pain in the entire body. A mild to moderate headache also accompanies the fever. The headache worsens when the fever is high.
☛ Fever is mostly followed by a sore throat. The throat area often turns red, and you can see that upon opening their mouth. The feeling of constant itchiness in the throat is the most bothersome indicant for children.
☛ They develop a hoarse voice, and experience pain in the throat upon trying to speak. Swallowing of foods becomes a painful affair too.
• This symptom appears much later after the other above-mentioned ones. Scratchy throat often triggers a dry, hacking cough.
• The difference between the cough caused by the flu and common cold virus lies in mucus production. In flu, the cough is dry and does not produce any mucus. Even if mucus is produced, it is in very small amounts.
☛ Small children often suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms, like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain when affected with flu. These symptoms are usually observed in kids, and adults rarely show these symptoms.
☛ The children also suffer from lack of appetite and often refuse to eat anything. There are chances of dehydration as well due to excessive fluid loss.
When the intensity of the flu symptoms is mild to moderate, it does not require any medicinal treatment. It can be treated with the help of some home remedies.
✔ Children need plenty of rest and sufficient intake of fluids to recover from the infection. Ingestion of warm liquids, such as broth herbal tea and soup have a soothing effect on the sore throat.
✔ Older children can gargle with lukewarm saltwater, and you can also give them some honey to provide relief from cough. However, do not give honey to small babies.
✔ Muscle ache and headache can be controlled to some extent with the help of warm compression. Dip a washcloth in cold water, and wring to remove the excess water. Thereafter, place it on the forehead and other painful sites for quick relief.
✔ When the fever is high and children develop other symptoms like breathing problems, they should be taken to the doctor. If you observe flu symptoms in children under the age of 5, then they should not be treated at home. Take them to the doctor at the earliest.
✔ Generally, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are prescribed to bring down the fever. If there are some health complications, then antiviral medicines are given to check any further aggravation of the infection.
✔ Antibiotics are given when children suffer from any bacterial infection or bronchitis. In case a child shows signs of dehydration, IV fluids are administered to hydrate the body.
Most of the symptoms associated with flu tend to subside within 3 – 5 days, provided the child is given proper care. However, tiredness, fatigue, and cough can bother them for some more time (around 1 or 2 weeks).
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.