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The Flu is Here!

Posted by Shelly
Shelly Nalbone is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who has worked with children fo
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on Monday, February 13 2012 in Pediatric News & New Research

The Flu has arrived in our area.

Influenza, or the flu, is a very common illness that is caused by the influenza virus, which strikes most commonly in the winter.  Although children get more mild flu infections than adults, rates of flu are much higher among children. Flu symptoms usually develop 2-3 days (incubation period) after coming in contact with someone else who is sick with the flu.

The most common symptoms of the flu are the sudden onset of a runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat from post nasal drip, cough, fever, which can be either low grade or very high, chills, muscle aches and pains, fatigue, headache, nausea, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Symptoms usually worsen over the next 3-5 days, and then gradually improve over the next few days without treatments.

Although antibiotics do not work against the flu, there are some things you can do to make your child more comfortable as he recovers, including bedrest, plenty of fluids, a pain and or fever reliever, or use of a humidifier.

Remember that since the flu is caused by a virus, your child will not need an antibiotic as treatment to get better. Antibiotics do not kill the flu virus. There are some antiviral medicines that may help your child get better quicker if they are started within 48 hours of the first signs of illness.

Since the flu is spread by coming into contact with the secretions of someone who is already infected, the best way to not get the flu is to teach your children to wash their hands often, especially before eating and after using the bathroom, to not share cups or glasses, and to cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze. Also wash toys and other objects and surfaces after someone with the flu (or any other infection) touches them.

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Shelly Nalbone is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who has worked with children for more than 17yrs. She graduated from Houston Baptist University in 1993 with her Bachelors Degree in Nursing and completed her Masters Degree at Texas Woman's University in 1999. Shelly completed a Post Masters Fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. She has spoken nationally on pediatric and adolescent health care topics and was a contributing author for a pediatric nursing textbook. Shelly is Associate Clinical Faculty for The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and LoneStar College Nursing programs. She lives in the Champions area with her husband and 2 children.