Flu in Children: Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

Flu in Children

Influenza is one of the common viral infections that affect the respiratory tract. The infection is transmitted after contact with the carrier of the virus. This occurs through airborne droplets, that is, during a kiss, when coughing, sneezing and so on.

Flu symptoms in children

Influenza is a type of acute respiratory viral infection (ARVI). Its causative agent is a flu virus, respectively. Along with the flu, ARVI includes parainfluenza, adenoviral, rhinovirus, and respiratory syncytial infections. Influenza causes seasonal epidemics almost every year. About half of the cases are children and adolescents. Since children's immunity is rather weak, influenza is often accompanied by the development of complications such as bronchitis, sinusitis, otitis media, and pneumonia. 

There are many types of influenza viruses. The most common of these are type A, B, and C viruses. Type A viruses most often cause seasonal epidemics and even pandemics in children.

The incubation or hidden period in children can last 2-4 days. Later the acute manifestation of flu symptoms begins - the temperature rises sharply (up to 38 ° C and higher). The child is worried about the symptoms of intoxication - weakness, lack of appetite, headache. At high temperatures may develop seizures. In infants, the only manifestation of the flu may be a fever. In children under the age of 5, rhinitis and cough are added to it. At an older age, in addition to the above symptoms, there may be a sore throat, sore throat, chills, and sweating.

In children, very often the flu has complications. They can be as respiratory, that is, with the defeat of the respiratory organs, and not respiratory. With a weakened immunity or late initiation of treatment, a viral infection often "falls" into the lower respiratory tract and causes tracheitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia. It is also possible the accession of a bacterial infection, for example, streptococcus, pneumococcus, staphylococcus. These types of bacteria cause sore throat, otitis media, sinusitis, pneumonia. Non-respiratory influenza complications are myositis, myocarditis, encephalitis. They are more dangerous. 

The most susceptible to severe complications are children under 2 years old and children with comorbid conditions (bronchial asthma, congenital heart defects, diabetes, kidney damage).

Types of flu in children 

There are a large number of influenza viruses. However, the influenza virus type A most often causes epidemics. Everyone knows that people can become infected with various types of animal flu - avian, swine, and so on. People get infected by contact with infected animals or a polluted environment. 

Depending on the type of virus, the symptoms of the disease may vary in their severity and duration of the incubation period. In some cases, an aggressive course is possible with the development of severe complications. Can be recorded and fatal outcomes.

Intestinal flu

The expression "intestinal flu" is often used in everyday life. However, a clear understanding of what kind of disease most people do not have. As it turned out, it has nothing to do with the flu. Under the expression "intestinal flu" in everyday life mean viral intestinal infections. The most common of these include rotavirus and norovirus. 

The most common symptoms of these infections are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, weakness. That is, they are united with the flu only by high fever and symptoms of intoxication (headache, fever, weakness). Viral intestinal infections can be confused with banal poisoning. In fact, these are completely different diseases. Infection with intestinal viruses occurs through fresh and healthy, but thermally insufficiently processed fruits and vegetables.

The difference between poisoning and “intestinal flu” is that the day after vomiting and diarrhea, the person becomes better and he recovers. When viral infection symptoms of intoxication - headache, fever persist for several days. 

The most dangerous intestinal viral infections in children 2-3 years. The child during the first days loses a large amount of fluid with vomiting. Dehydration at this age can be critical. When joining diarrhea, the situation is exacerbated. Every year thousands of children die from this seemingly harmless infection.

Treatment of flu in children 

When the child's temperature rises and symptoms of intoxication develop (headache, sweating, severe weakness), it is necessary to consult a pediatrician. The child is shown bed rest, rest and heavy drinking.

What means need to be taken?

From antiviral drugs with proven effectiveness, you can give the child Tamiflu (for children over 1 year old). However, the child should have the flu. 

When the temperature rises above 38 ° C, it is necessary to prescribe antipyretic children’s paracetamol (panadol in the form of syrup). Very high temperatures are dangerous, they can cause cramps and damage the brain. 

From funds that reduce the symptoms of rhinitis can drip into the nose Tizin, Nazivin, do the washing with saline. You can gargle with soda water. 

Prescribing antibiotics is indicated only when attaching a bacterial infection, for example, tonsillitis, sinusitis, otitis, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Self-administration of antibiotics is contraindicated.

Is it possible to treat at home? 

It is possible to treat children with a mild form of flu at home. Children under the age of 2-3 years with the development of severe complications require hospitalization.

Prevention of influenza in children 

Prevention of influenza is nutrition, hardening, walking in the fresh air, washing hands, airing the room where the child is. During the period of the epidemic, it is desirable to avoid visiting places with large crowds of people, take multivitamins.

Should I vaccinate? 

It is recommended that the following categories of children be vaccinated against influenza: 
  • Often ill; 
  • Suffering from chronic respiratory diseases; 
  • With respiratory, endocrine, CNS, kidney defects; 
  • With heart defects; 
  • With blood diseases; 
  • Immunodeficiency; 
  • Visiting child care. 
Currently in the Russian Federation 11 flu vaccines are available. The most popular ones are:
  • Waxigripp (France); 
  • Grippol (Russia), 
  • Inflexal (Switzerland), 
  • Influvac (Netherlands), 
  • Agrippal S1 (Switzerland), 
  • Begrivak (Germany), 
  • Fluarix (Belgium) and others. 
Vaccination against influenza should be carried out before the start of the epidemic season (September-October).

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