The threat of influenza has been largely eclipsed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps thanks to the strict safety protocols implemented last year, lab-confirmed cases of influenza in the United States dropped from 39 million during the 2019-2020 season to 2,124 during the 2020-2021 season. However, the CDC also notes that when our immune systems have limited exposure to these common viruses, our antibodies won’t be prepared to handle them sufficiently.
With this reduced resistance, it’s then vital for parents to know how to prepare for the possibility of a worsened flu season amidst a global pandemic. Aside from adopting proper prevention strategies, you need to know how to care for your child should they catch the affliction. If you suspect that your child has influenza, here are a few things you can do.
Observe Their Symptoms
Flu symptoms tend to worsen rapidly over the course of 1 to 3 days. According to the US National Library of Medicine, children with the flu might develop feverish chills, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat or cough, or muscle pain and headaches. Children might also experience diarrhea or vomiting.
If you’re unsure about your child’s symptoms, you can look at online health resources to determine what your child might be afflicted with. SymptomFind.com publishes medically backed articles that discuss how to track and treat a variety of different health conditions. Reading articles on headaches, fevers, and dehydration can help parents tackle the flu, one symptom at a time.
To fight off infections, the immune system creates proteins called cytokines, which are only produced and released when the body is asleep. When your child is moving up and about, that energy is divided, thus slowing the recovery process. On that note, ensure that your child gets quality rest to allow their body to focus its energy on healing.
Keep Them Hydrated
Make sure your child drinks enough water. KidsHealth.org explains that since water helps to regulate the body’s temperature, staying hydrated can mitigate fever-like symptoms. Water also moisturizes the mucous membranes in the nose and mouth, which makes them more effective at fighting off bacteria and viruses. The immune system also needs water to better carry white blood cells, which are the body’s main defenders against invading viruses, across the bloodstream.
However, if your child’s symptoms include diarrhea or vomiting, water alone might not be enough. Diarrhea and vomiting expel potassium, sodium, and chloride, which are vital to many bodily processes. Should your child experience these symptoms, you can give your child Pedialyte. Pedialyte is a dehydration treatment that contains a mixture of water, dextrose, and mineral nutrients. Thus, it’s more effective than water at restoring the body’s electrolytes.
Call A Pediatrician
You’ll want to call a pediatrician to prescribe treatment if your child’s symptoms are severe. Some red flags that may require professional attention include fevers exceeding 104 degrees F, severe headaches, persistent pain, and vomiting with abdominal pain.
As the global health crisis increases the risks that come with flu season, not only should parents follow proper guidelines for prevention, they should also equip themselves with the knowledge they need to care for an afflicted child. For more health news, check out our articles at South Slope News.