1) What is flu and how does it spread?
Flu (also known as influenza) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that affect the nose, throat, and lung. Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly by droplets made when someone with flu coughs, sneezes and talks. These droplets can land in the mouths and noses of people nearby. A person also can get flu by touching somethings that has flu virus on it and then touching their mouth, eye, or nose.
2) What are flu symptoms?
Flu symptoms can include high fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and feeling tired. Some children may have vomiting and diarrhea. Some people with flu may not have fever. Flu illness can vary from mild to severe, children younger than 5 years and those with long term health problems are at high risk of flu complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infection and brain infection
3) How can I protect my child from flu?
The first and best way to protect against flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine for yourself and your children. Flu vaccination is recommended for everyone above 6 months old every year. By getting a flu vaccine, studies showed reduction of morbidity and mortality especially in children with high risk medical condition.
4) What are other ways I can do to protect my child against flu?
- Stay away from people who are sick if possible
- Regularly cover your coughs or sneezes
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Clean surfaces that may be contaminated with flu viruses
5) What can I do if my child gets sick?
Make sure your child gets plenty of rest and drinks enough fluids and always talk to your doctor if you are worried about your child’s illness. As even healthy children can get very sick from flu illness, it is important for you to recognize warning signs early and seek immediate medical help. The warning signs include:
- Fast breathing or trouble in breathing
- Bluish lip and face
- Ribs pulling in with each breath
- Chest pain
- Severe muscle ache ( child refuse to walk)
- Chest discomfort or pain
- Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)
- Not alert or interacting when awake
- Fever above 40 degree celsius
- Any children less than 12 weeks old with fever
- Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
6) Is that a a medicine to treat flu?
Yes. Antiviral drugs can be used to treat flu illness. They can shorten flu illness and make it milder, prevent serious complications and shorten hospital stay. Antivirals work best when started early during the first 2 days of illness. These drugs are recommended to treat people who are sick requiring hospital admission and high risk group.
7) How long can a sick person spread flu top others?
People with flu may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick till up to 5 to 7 days after recovery. Therefore, your child should stay home to rest and should not go to school or day care, to avoid spreading flu to others.