Influenza — the flu — is a common viral infection that affects the throat, nose, and lungs. At Night Watch Pediatric Urgent Care in Manassas, Virginia, the team provides after-hours care to children experiencing symptoms of the flu. To speak with a physician about your child’s condition, visit the office or book an appointment by phone or online today.
The flu is a highly contagious viral infection that is easily spread through coughing, sneezing, and contact with infected persons and surfaces. Once your child comes into contact with the virus, they can begin spreading it before they even experience symptoms.
The influenza virus is constantly evolving, making it difficult for children to build up immunity. Even if your child has had the flu in the past, if exposed to new strains or mutations, they can get it again.
The flu often resembles a common cold. Although a runny nose and sore throat aren’t always reasons for concern, they are among several common symptoms that typically signal the flu. These symptoms include:
Although the flu often resembles a common cold, the symptoms of influenza are usually more severe and sudden. Unlike a cold, which is typically harmless, if not treated, the flu can lead to serious medical complications like pneumonia.
The most common method of treating the flu is rest and lots of liquids. This allows your child’s immune system to fight against the infection. Over-the-counter medicines like cough suppressants and pain relievers can help ease symptoms during recovery.
In certain cases, your doctor will prescribe an antiviral medication to help your child recover.
The best approach to dealing with the flu is prevention. Because the flu virus mutates, it’s important to keep up with annual flu shots. Seasonal flu vaccines are recommended for children ages 6 months and up. The flu shot helps protect your child against the strains of the flu they are most at risk of.
If your child or another family member already has the flu, you can limit the spread of the infection by ensuring proper hand cleansing and hygiene, and beginning treatment as soon as possible. Most children will remain contagious until five days after their first symptoms.
If your child is showing any of the symptoms of the flu, you can drop by the office or book an appointment by phone or online today.