Think that your child has the flu? Here are 5 parent flu tips, aka things you need to do RIGHT NOW if you suspect influenza during this pandemic. I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Genentech to write about the signs, symptoms and treatments available for pediatric influenza. All opinions are my own.
Your Child Has Flu? 5 Things to Do RIGHT NOW!
Hope. So close, we can almost touch it.
As the first rounds of COVID-19 vaccine are being administered, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. But with immunity a long way off and influenza about to hit peak season, I know that I’m not the only parent who’s worried about how to take care of a sick child in the midst of a pandemic.
1 deadly virus + 1 deadly virus = uh-oh.
There’s one deadly virus that no one is talking about, but we need to. Millions of kids contract influenza every year, resulting in thousands of hospitalizations and even death. And the best thing we as parents can do is protect, prevent, and prepare. But where to start?
Do you think that your child may have the flu? Here are 5 things you need to do RIGHT NOW – and why you shouldn’t wait. These parent flu tips may be life saving for your child. Plus scroll down to find out how you can win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards to help your family this season.
Call the Doctor
One of your first steps should be contacting your child’s pediatrician right away. Your child’s doctor will have the most up-to-date insight on how to handle influenza during this unprecedented and unusual season.
Be sure to speak with your pediatrician about the flu symptoms that your child is experiencing, your doctor’s visit policy during COVID-19 season, and what to do in case of worsening symptoms and/or an emergency.
Manage Flu Symptoms
Flu symptoms can come fast and furious. From managing fevers with over-the-counter fever reducers, keeping them hydrated, or using your own home remedies, it’s inevitable that parents will have their hands full with a sick child. Knowing what flu symptoms and complications to look for along with having lots of parent flu tips for taking care of a sick child can help ease your child’s recovery. Be sure to check out this huge list of flu essentials and home remedies for more.
Ask About Antiviral Medications
The best thing you can do when your child has the flu is to be their healthcare advocate. Did you know that there are medicines to treat pediatric influenza? Most parents are unaware that antivirals can be very effective in treating kids with the flu. But knowing which medicines are safe for infants and children and starting treatment early, within the first 48 hours of symptom onset is key to safe and healthy recovery.
Are antiviral medications safe for kids? Antiviral medications are recommended for use in children as soon as possible with suspected or confirmed influenza, especially those who are hospitalized, with severe/progressive/underlying illnesses, or at high risk for complications – especially those under the age of 5 years old.
Which antiviral medications are approved for treatment of influenza? There are 4 FDA-approved antiviral drugs recommended by the CDC to treat flu this 2020-2021 season, with some starting as young as 2-weeks old:
- Oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu): 5 day oral liquid treatment recommended for age 2-weeks old and up
- Baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza): 1 pill treatment (Reported side effects are nausea – it’s a good idea to ask your doctor for anti-nausea medication if this is prescribed.)
- Peramivir (Rapivab): 1 injection treatment (usually for patients unable to take medicine by mouth)
- Zanamivir (Relenza): 2 inhaled doses twice daily for 5 days
Why should I give my child flu antivirals? While most children do recover from the flu on their own, there are many benefits to giving children antiviral medication within the first 2 days of symptoms. Besides decreasing the duration and severity of flu symptoms, antivirals can also reduce complications from the flu, hospitalization, and death, especially in those at higher risk (multiple health diagnoses and kids under the age of 5).
In case you didn’t know, influenza is highly contagious. Droplets (similar to coronavirus), can easily spread the flu virus to family, school, and others in close contact. More than ever, quarantining your child, social distancing, wearing a mask, and using good handwashing skills will be important.
When can your child go back to school if they have the flu? For the most part, your child’s fever needs to be gone for at least a full 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines before they can return to school. Check with your child’s pediatrician for policies and personal recommendations based on your child’s symptoms.
Know When to Seek Help
Life threatening emergencies can quickly escalate, especially for children under the age of 5 years old. Delay in treatment and flu complications such as pneumonia and ear infections can also compound your child’s sickness. Being aware and prepared for “red flags” can help you to know when to seek medical help for your child’s health:
- High fever for more than 48 hours
- Severe dehydration (unable to keep fluids down, excessive vomiting/diarrhea)
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Blue nail beds, or blue discoloration around your child’s lips/mouth
You know your child best. But the point is, don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially when it comes to the health of your child.
Kids Flu Survey (Win a $100 Visa Gift Card!)
Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with pediatric influenza, which will help us develop future educational initiatives.
Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative.
The survey contains links to external sites. Any such links are provided as a convenience and for educational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or legal advice, nor are they endorsements of any organization.