What are the symptoms of Influenza?
- Fever (temperature > 100.4)
- Body aches
- Nasal congestion
- Sore Throat
- Occasionally vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)
Who should be seen by a health care provider right away?
- Children under 3 months of age with a rectal temperature > 100.4
- Children under the age of 2 years with suspected Influenza
- Children with suspected Influenza AND chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, or suppressed immune system
- Any child with shortness of breath, suspected dehydration (less than 3-4 wet diapers/day), behavioral change/lethargy NOT improved with acetaminophen or ibuprofen
Who can wait to be seen?
- Children over the age of 2 years who are otherwise healthy (no chronic medical condition) with suspected Influenza who are NOT experiencing any shortness of breath, dehydration, or lethargy ( that is NOT improved with acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
- Children with mild ear pain that is managed with acetaminophen or ibuprofen (greater than 60% of ear infections will resolve spontaneously without treatment within 10 days)
- Children who are eating and drinking well enough to remain hydrated
What about Tamiflu?
Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is an antiviral medication approved for children as young as 2 weeks of age with Influenza. Tamiflu has been shown to decrease the course of the illness of Influenza by 1-2 days and it can help prevent complications such as pneumonia.
Who should take Tamiflu?
Tamiflu is recommended for children at high risk of complications from Influenza (children under the age of 2 years, children with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, chronic heart, lung, or kidney disease, children with immune suppression or cancer) AND is most effective when started within 48 hours of symptom onset.
Tamiflu should be considered for prophylaxis (prevention) in patients with any of the above conditions who have been exposed to someone with influenza.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months. It is especially important for those at high risk of complications from influenza and anyone living with or caring for individuals at high risk.
How can I treat my child with suspected Influenza at home?
Children with suspected or confirmed Influenza who are not experiencing complications (as stated above) can be managed at home with rest, plenty of fluids, and symptomatic relief with medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen (>6 months of age) for fever and pain relief.
Please call your health care provider immediately if your child is experiencing any complications (as stated above), has a fever for greater than 4 days, has a cough or other symptoms for more than 10 days, or if you have any other questions or concerns.