What causes the flu in children?
Influenza, known as the flu, is caused by one of three types of viruses: influenza A, B, or C. A and B are the most common—these are the strains responsible for those widespread bouts of the flu that crop up every winter.
Vaccines have been developed to prevent the flu, but here’s the problem: Viruses mutate, making them resistant to previous vaccinations. This is why the flu continues to infect individuals every year, sometimes even leading to hospitalization. If you choose to vaccinate your kids, make sure to do so yearly so they’re always receiving the latest vaccination developed to fight prevalent flu strains.
Influenza C is often asymptomatic, and, unlike A and B, doesn’t usually cause epidemics. If it does lead to symptoms, they will often be respiratory-related.
Contracting the flu virus tends to be relatively easy because it can actually live on surfaces for a short while. That means that if Timmy has the flu virus and your child opens the door after him, your child may contract the virus from the doorknob. All it takes after that is one rub of the eyes at naptime.
Fortunately, there are a few tried-and-true prevention methods you can help your kids adopt as everyday habits to keep the flu at bay.
If left untreated
When treated quickly, flu symptoms typically clear up without complications. If left untreated, though, the flu can lead to other health issues that are a lot more complex to treat, like an ear infection, sinus infection, or pneumonia. Pneumonia, in particular, is essential to avoid—it can lead to hospitalization.
If you’ve spotted flu symptoms in your child, get in touch with DispatchHealth to request in-home treatment. We accept most major insurance carriers, including Medicare and Medicaid, and typically arrive at your place of need within a couple of hours. Request care for non-life-threatening conditions via telephone, our website, or our app.