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Dealing with the flu

Healthcare   |   Age: 1 year 8 months


Dealing with the flu 

Young children generally end up with many illnesses throughout the year, but the flu is an especially nasty virus that can knock the energy out of even the most active toddler. And while you’ve almost certainly had the flu yourself once or twice, helping your little one through the same thing is a very different experience.

The flu (short for “influenza”) is a viral infection that affects the nose, throat, and lungs. Typically, the time of year when the flu seems to be just about everywhere comes any time between October and April, but it’s possible to come down with the flu any time of year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young children often need medical care for the flu, and serious complications are most common in children under 2 years old. This means it’s important to know what to look for in terms of symptoms, and how to appropriately treat the virus to avoid more complications.

Flu symptoms

Often confused with the common cold, flu symptoms are generally more severe than the same symptoms when they’re caused by a cold. A child with a cold may have a low-grade fever, runny nose, and coughing as her main symptoms. In the flu, those symptoms often show up, but can be accompanied by other symptoms, including:

Treating your child’s symptoms

At this age, if you think your child has the flu, it’s a good idea to check in with her pediatrician. The virus will probably run its course in about a week. Your child’s doctor will probably make these suggestions for getting your little one back to good health:

For a child who is congested, saline spray, and a nasal syringe can help clear mucus from her stuffy nose. A humidifier can also help her breathe easier.

Serious Symptoms

Call the doctor right away if your child:

Preventing the flu 

The CDC recommends the flu vaccine for children, since young children are considered most at risk for developing complications from the virus. Children can be vaccinated against the flu as early as 6 months, and children who have not been vaccinated in the past will need two doses of the vaccine.  Speak to your child’s pediatrician about when the vaccine will be available, and what is recommended in terms of providing full protection for her against the virus.


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