The Flu - Akron Children's Hospital video

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the flu is of viral respiratory tract

infection classically the flu presents

with cough or cold almost universally

accompanied by a fever sometimes quite a

high fever in children and babies it's a

little bit tough to identify but often

there are instances where there's

headache and muscle aches and general

feeling of malaise or fatigue and those

are sort of the classic symptoms

it can be difficult to determine whether

your child has the flu or whether they

have the common cold the only true way

to know for sure is with the tests most

of us make that diagnosis based on the

clinical symptoms however and so to be

more clear if if your child has the

common symptoms associated with

influenza which are the higher fevers

the respiratory tract infection

headaches are feeling a malaise and they

your child has those symptoms at the

time where flu is quite common in the

community or prevalent in the community

it's likely that your child does have


flu season is is generically thought of

as somewhere from about the 1st of

October usually until about the end of

March it typically peaks in mid January

to early February and then by the end of

March we've sort of we're through the

the lion's share of the influenza


the flu spreads as most viruses do in

its person-to-person contact in the

winter time most of us are inside and so

we're in closer contact with each other

so if a person were to COFF or sneeze or

they had some virus that they were

shedding and I come in contact with

either those droplet secretions or some

some virus that were on the hand and and

then I contacted that virus I would be

at risk for getting that virus

in the Children's Hospital there are two

big patient populations there the

greater greatest risk for for either

contracting the influenza virus or worse

yet suffering the most severe illness

associated with the flu and those two

populations are the youngest children so

some would say children less than a year

of age or even those children less than

six months of if you broaden that net a

little bit wider it's most children who

are preschool age so less than five

years of age a second population in the

Children's Hospital its most at-risk is

the is the patient with some secondary

chronic illness and so that might be a

child with asthma that might be a child

who was formerly a premature baby who

has some underdeveloped chronic lung


the care is almost always symptomatic

there there have been many terrific

sales efforts around cough medicines and

cold and flu medicines but what we know

about those medications and children is

that they don't actually work all that

well the main the mainstay of therapy is

around treatment flu influenza our fever

control and hydration and so if a child

is having a fever using an motrin or

non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or using

Tylenol to treat those fevers that those

are probably the the key critical

medications necessary and then of course

just trying to keep the child hydrated

a child who the parents suspected had

influenza were were either working quite

hard to breathe were difficult to arouse

or wake up so the child was lethargic if

the child had evidence of dehydration

which might include fewer wet diapers or

really decreased drinking if your child

was having a high fever so high fever

might be a temperature greater than 100

point five degrees and sometimes the

fevers can get quite higher than that

often that fever can be treated and the

child can return to a more normal

temperature but if that fever were

persistent or quite high those would all

be all be considerations for taking your

child to the emergency department

most children shed the virus for about

seven days so if I'm clinically

symptomatic with the influenza virus

today and today is the first day that I

have my symptoms of fever and headache

and respiratory tract infection

somewhere about four to seven days I

will shed that virus when I sneeze when

I cough and so anytime during that

seven-day period I'm at risk for

spreading that virus or that flu virus

to the next next person that I might

come in contact with

to try and prevent transmission of the

flu virus is with excellent hand hygiene

hand washing hand washing no matter how

simplistic that's solution sounds it

works it's terrifically effective at

reducing transmission of the virus

there are some other ways to prevent the

spread of the virus one way would be to

if I were symptomatic to not go out in

public I can't go to work or I can't go

to church or I don't go to the grocery

store or my child doesn't go to the

school but clearly if if I'm shedding

virus and and I'm a child in the second

grade and I go to my school I'll come in

contact with many many children during

that time and so I'll be at high risk

for sharing that virus with other kids

to vaccine can be very effective at

preventing me from getting any flu

symptoms at all or even if I do acquire

or come in contact with the flu virus

it's likely that my my clinical symptoms

will be significantly reduced

there is a class of medications that can

be used to shorten the duration of the

flu symptoms those medications are most

commonly reserved for patients who are

admitted to the hospitals or admitted to

the intensive care units or those

patients with with higher risk due to

the flu flu virus in those patients we

use Tamiflu or Relenza which are the

trade names for two anti-flu medications