American Primary Care

Influenza: AKA the FLU

  • dedar_dev
  • January 14, 2016

What are the symptoms? The symptoms of influenza include cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and fever. Other common symptoms are chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue (a tired feeling), and loss of appetite. Children who have the flu may also experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These gastrointestinal symptoms are not usually part of the flu in teens and adults. There is really no such illness as a “stomach flu”; this name usually refers to a gastrointestinal infection caused by viruses other than influenza. Most otherwise healthy people recover from cases of the flu without problem. Sometimes, however, a child with the flu develops complications, such as an ear infection, sinusitis, or pneumonia. Influenza can also (rarely) cause disease in the body’s muscles, including the muscular wall of the heart, and in the nervous system.

How is it treated? Flu can usually be treated at home with bed rest and plenty of fluids. A non-aspirin pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, can be used to reduce fever and help make the child feel more comfortable. Do NOT give aspirin, which has been linked to the development of Reye’s syndrome in children with the flu.

A stuffy nose can be relieved with sterile saline nose drops. A cool-mist humidifier adds moisture to the air and may help soothe your child’s sore throat and irritated airways. If a humidifier is used, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for keeping it clean and mold-free.

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