Let them get the rest they need for a speedy recovery
Have you ever had the flu and slept for 12 hours straight, no problem? Well, there’s a reason. According to a recent study published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, sleep is essential for helping the body battle viral infections and for keeping the immune system in tip-top shape. That means it’s important to let your little one sleep as much as possible when they’re battling the flu. Visits to the emergency room or urgent care clinic can disrupt that rest and set back their healing time, which is the last thing you want when your child’s missing tons of school and feels terrible. No parent wants to watch their child suffer from the flu, and DispatchHealth can help. When you observe flu symptoms in your child, just reach out to us. We’ll send a team of qualified medical professionals to your home to properly diagnose and treat your child’s flu symptoms without disrupting the healing process.
If this is an emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
Flu symptoms & when to seek treatment
It’s easy to mistake flu symptoms for a common cold—after all, they share many of the same symptoms, including:
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Achy muscles
- A sore throat
- A headache
The major difference between the two? Common cold symptoms come on slowly, whereas the flu strikes fast. Typically, symptoms arise within 24 hours of contraction of the flu virus. Flu symptoms also tend to be more severe than cold symptoms, and may be accompanied by other telling signs:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Fever that lasts more than 3 days
- Stiff neck
- Lack of urination
- Crying without tears
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your child, it might be time to call the medical professionals at DispatchHealth’s traveling Flu Crew to seek treatment. Having the flu isn’t fun (and neither is taking care of your sick child), and we can arrive at your home within a couple of hours.
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.
How to prevent the flu in children
- Educate them. Kids can’t always easily understand the concept of germs, bacteria, and viruses since they can’t see them. Teach your kids that just because they’re invisible to the naked eye doesn’t mean they’re harmless. This’ll help drive home the importance of flu prevention methods, like frequent hand washing.
- Annual vaccinations. The CDC recommends a yearly influenza (flu) vaccine for children aged 6 months and older. There are two types of vaccines: the flu shot and a nasal spray. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the flu shot as the most effective vaccination method for children.
- Stress the importance of hand washing. Frequent hand washing is one of the most effective flu prevention methods, but kids don’t always practice the best hand-washing habits. Encourage them to wash their hands before and after eating, after using the restroom, after playing with other kids (especially if their playmate has a cold), and after blowing their nose or coughing. You should also teach them the right way to wash their hands; an easy rule of thumb is to have them recite the alphabet in their heads as they lather up.
- Discourage sharing of certain items. While sharing is a great value to instill in your kids, teach them that it should mostly apply to their toys. When kids share food, utensils, and drinks, it can lead to the spread of the flu.
- Reward good habits. Half the battle of flu prevention in children is getting them to stick to good hygiene habits. That includes using tissues, coughing into their elbow, using hand sanitizer, washing their hands, and avoiding sticking their fingers in their mouths. To encourage good hygiene habits, reward them with small treats or tokens when you notice they did a good job. Positive reinforcement is an extremely effective educational tool—they’ll be practicing good hygiene habits regularly before you know it!
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.