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My Child Has the Flu. Now What?

My Child Has the Flu. Now What?

Influenza viruses cause an illness we refer to simply as the flu. The flu can cause a variety of symptoms varying in severity, but most children who get the flu are sick for less than a week and recover without problems. 

Since children under age 5 have a much greater risk of developing flu-related complications, including pneumonia and even death, it’s important to bring your child in for an evaluation if you suspect the flu.

At Urgent Care of Ada, in Ada, Oklahoma, our medical providers specialize in diagnosing and treating influenza symptoms in patients of all ages. We’ve put together this helpful guide with information on the flu in children and what to do if you suspect your child has the virus.

Understanding the flu and children

Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that usually strikes during the coldest months of the year (between October and May). It spreads when sick people talk, cough, or sneeze out droplets infected with the virus and other people breathe them in or touch something with them on it, like a doorknob. 

The most common types of flu are influenza types A and B. Children who get the flu usually develop symptoms quickly, and although the flu is a respiratory disease, it can cause a range of symptoms, including: 

Children who get the flu usually recover in about a week, but they can continue to feel more tired than normal or have lingering symptoms, like a runny nose or cough, for three to four weeks. 

Keep in mind that the flu shot offers the best protection against getting the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all people ages 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. 

The team at Urgent Care of Ada offers flu vaccines as both an injection and nasal spray, making it even easier to get your child immunized. 

What to do if you suspect your child has the flu

Since children are more likely to develop implications related to flu, if you suspect your child has the influenza virus, call our office to schedule a flu appointment at Urgent Care of Ada, or walk into our urgent care clinic.

Based on your child’s symptoms, health history, and whether they live with vulnerable people (e.g., people with compromised immune systems), you may need to bring your child into our office. 

If diagnosed early enough and if your child has influenza A or influenza B, your Urgent Care of Ada provider may be able to prescribe an antiviral medication called Tamiflu® to shorten the duration of the virus.

Most of the time, you can manage your child’s influenza symptoms at home. Here are some things you can do to make your child more comfortable:

Make sure your child rests as much as possible by keeping screen time to a minimum and encouraging quiet play. Your child needs to be fever-free for at least 24 hours before returning to school or activities with other children. 

When to go to an emergency room for the flu

Although most of the time, the flu can be treated at home, it’s possible for the flu to cause life-threatening symptoms that require immediate medical care. If your child has any of these urgent warning signs, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room:

Learn more about what to do when your child has the flu by scheduling an appointment over the phone or online at Urgent Care of Ada. If you or your child currently has the flu or flu-like symptoms, get same-day treatment by walking in to our urgent care clinic.

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