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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About Flu in Toddlers

Before discussing further flu in toddlers, let us find out more about influenza. You may have heard influenza a lot and might have caught influenza at least once in a year. But what is influenza?

Influenza, or commonly known as ‘the flu’, is a disease caused by an influenza virus. The disease is infectious, and the symptoms can be mild to severe. The virus can infect people in all age and children may experience nausea and vomiting which are not common in adults. Like many other viruses, once you get infected, your body will carry the virus your whole life. Once your immune system is weakening, the virus will replicate more and cause flu symptoms. Thus, the best way to prevent influenza is by enhancing the immune system.

Catching flu might be inevitable because the agent carrying the disease is everywhere. And the fact that children (especially children younger than 5) are more susceptible to the flu makes it necessary for parents to know the best treatment to cure influenza on children and toddlers.

Flu Symptoms in Infants and Toddlers

Infants and toddlers often cannot describe how they feel when they are suffering from the flu and what symptoms are taking place. Parents have also often mistaken the symptoms displayed by the infants with other diseases which have the same symptoms, such as colic pains. The term ‘flu’ refers to illnesses surrounding the nose, throat, mouth, and occasionally lung. Thus, parents must be suspicious if the symptoms are attacking such organs.

Mostly, the common symptoms of flu in toddlers and children are:

·       runny or stuffy nose
·       dry, hacking cough
·       crankiness
·       sore throat
·       diarrhea and vomiting
·       fever

Even though those symptoms may not necessarily mean that it is a flu, parents are advised to contact the healthcare provider to find out the cause and get the cure.

Flu Complications in Toddlers

Most people recover from influenza without any serious problem. Fever may last for 2 to 4 days, but a cough can continue for 1 to 2 weeks or more. Flu may cause complication in toddlers, for example causing croup or laryngotracheobronchitis (an infection of the throat and vocal cords which cause noisy breathing, hoarseness, and barking cough), pneumonia (lung infection), and bronchiolitis (difficulty of breathing due to infection on the tiny airways that lead to the lungs).

Influenza may also lead to infections of the ear (otitis), sinuses (sinusitis), or lung (pneumonia). The condition might be more severe for children under 2 years of age and children with certain chronic conditions such as lung, heart, or neurological problems.

Flu Baby Breastfeeding

If the baby has the flu, breastfeeding will be one of the best things a mother can do to help the baby during illness. Breast milk contains antibodies to fight a disease; it helps babies to build their immune system when they're sick. Try giving breast milk from bottle, eyedropper, or syringe if your baby is too sick to breastfeed. It is okay to take antiviral drugs prescribed by the doctor while breastfeeding as long as you don't have any symptoms.

If the mother starts to develop flu symptoms, it is best to take extra precautions and protect the baby by following these tips:

·       Try to pump your milk and ask someone else to bottle-feed it to your baby.
·       Wash your hands with soap or hand sanitizer before touching your baby.
·       Wear a face mask or a cough and sneeze into a tissue.
·       Before holding the baby, try to put a clean blanket between you and your baby.
·       Don't share drinking glasses, eating utensils, washcloth, towels, or blankets until you've been symptom-free for at least five days

Best Medicine for Flu in Toddlers

Here are some tips to help your children more convenient while having flu symptoms.
·       Provide your child with nutritious meals and a lot of fluids.
·       If they have a fever, dress them in lightweight clothing. Keep the room temperature cool enough (around 20°C). If they are suffering from pain, use acetaminophen to ease the pain. Ibuprofen can be used for children over 6 months every 4 hours until the fever comes down.
·       Do not give a cough or cold medicines which are sold freely in pharmacies to children under 6 years old unless the doctor prescribes them.
·       Gargling with warm water that has been added with some salt to ease a sore throat.
·       Sugarless hard candy or lozenges containing herbs, honey, or pectin can be given to children 3 years or older.
·       If your children have heart or lung disease, an illness that weakens the immune system, or some other chronic condition and might catch influenza, call the doctor right away to get a prescribed antiviral drug.

Preventing the Flu in Toddlers

As what has been mentioned before, strengthening immune system is the main way to prevent flu, both in children and adult.

·       Provide toddlers with the best nutrient on their meal. Fresh vegetables and fruits are the main source of vitamin C which is best to strengthen the immune system and prevent the flu.
·       Toddlers age 6 months and older may get an immunization or a flu shot every year to prevent at least three strains of influenza virus. This is especially important for children who are at high risk of complications from the flu. Children age 8 and older need at least two doses of influenza vaccine at least 28 days apart from the previous vaccination.
·       It is best if everyone in the home gets a flu shot if there is a baby under 6 months old in the home. This is due to babies this age are not able to get the flu shot themselves and could be infected by sick family members.
·       Keep the babies under 3 months old from people with flu symptoms, if possible.
·       Wash hands regularly especially after coughing or sneezing and after being in contact with sick people.
·       Parents must teach toddlers to cover their nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze.
·       Avoid sharing toys that toddlers usually place in their mouth until you can make sure that the toys are clean.
·       Tell the caregiver in the daycare about any symptoms your toddlers have and ask if they are allowed to stay home until they are recovered.

Parents should be aware of health issues that can affect their children and learn about the symptoms also how to cure the disease, including flu in toddlers. Hope the tips will help!

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