Spotting your child’s flu symptoms at every age - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Spotting your child’s flu symptoms at every age

Once kids can tell you how they feel, listen for complaints similar to an adult’s.  © iStockphoto.com Once kids can tell you how they feel, listen for complaints similar to an adult’s. © iStockphoto.com
  • More NewsMore>>

  • Themes for WaterFire Sharon announced

    Themes for WaterFire Sharon announced

    SHARON, Pa. - WaterFire Sharon will return this summer to the Shenango River. The three big events will have several themes.  The theme on July 19th will be "Elements", August 23rd's theme will be "Origins"More >>
    SHARON, Pa. - WaterFire Sharon will return this summer to the Shenango River. The three big events will have several themes.  The theme on July 19th will be "Elements", August 23rd's theme will be "Origins"More >>
  • Hundreds expected to help with clean up of Dave Grohl Alley

    Hundreds expected to help with clean up of Dave Grohl Alley

    WARREN, Ohio - Hundreds are expected to show up in Warren on Saturday to take part in clean-up effort, after a vandal was caught on camera damaging a tribute to a Warren-born musician.From noon until 4More >>
    WARREN, Ohio - Hundreds are expected to show up in Warren on Saturday to take part in a clean-up effort, after a vandal was caught on camera damaging a tribute to a Warren-born musician.More >>
  • Motorists reminded of more Amish buggies on the roads

    Motorists reminded of more Amish buggies on the roads

    LISBON, Ohio - Orange barrels won't be the only thing motorists will have to watch for while traveling throughout Columbiana County.  Vehicles are often using the same lanes as Amish buggies and localMore >>
    LISBON, Ohio - Orange barrels won't be the only thing motorists will have to watch for while traveling throughout Columbiana County.More >>

By Madonna Behen
 

When adults get hit with the flu, there's no mistaking it. You're feverish, your head feels stuffed up and you ache everywhere. But with kids, the signs aren't always as easy to detect.  

"Young children with the flu can run the whole gamut of symptoms," says Dr. Martha Snyder, a pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics at Duke University School of Medicine. "Some children have the mildest of mild symptoms, while for others, symptoms are very severe."

Below is your guide to spotting flu symptoms no matter what your child's age, and ways to bring relief. 

Infants Under Six Months

Babies in the first six months of life are at the greatest risk of complications from the flu, says Snyder, because their immune system is not fully mature yet and their very small airway makes it easy for them to experience respiratory distress.

If your infant has a fever, call your doctor and watch for other signs of illness, such as dehydration. "When babies this age don't feel good, they usually don't want to drink," she adds. Provide plenty of water to keep an infant hydrated.  

Children Six Months to 2 Years

Kids under the age of 2 who come down with the flu often have respiratory symptoms (cough, runny nose, sneezing), high fevers (sometimes as high as 104 F), diarrhea and vomiting. "But while many kids have all of these symptoms, others may only have one," says Snyder.

Recognizing the early signs in toddlers is especially important, she says, because they can also get dangerously dehydrated very quickly. In addition, because of their smaller airways, babies can quickly progress to having wheezing and labored breath, which requires medication. Signs that a child's breathing is compromised include wheezing, fast breathing or shortness of breath, and nose flaring.

Children 2 to 4 Years

A child who can't talk yet (or can't talk well) obviously can't tell you that his body aches all over, so you need to be alert for behavioral changes, says Snyder. For instance, in many cases, children with the flu will have shaking chills and refuse to walk, because their legs are very achy.

"With kids under the age of 4, you really have to watch them to see how they're acting. Respond to anything that seems out of the ordinary," adds Snyder. "Young kids often have a limp look to them. Or they're so uncomfortable they just want to be held."

Children 4 to 6

Once kids can tell you how they feel, listen for complaints similar to an adult's. But be aware that if your child is under the age of 6, oral over-the-counter cold and flu medications are not recommended. "You should never give children this age decongestants, cough suppressants and other OTC cold remedies, because of the side effects," says Snyder.

But there are other things you can do. "It's OK to give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever or pain reduction," adds Snyder. It's also safe to apply topical soothers to help relieve symptoms. And some children don't mind saline nasal sprays for stuffy noses but be careful not to use them too often (more than six times a day), since overuse can cause swelling of a child's nasal passages.

Other beneficial non-drug treatments for colds and flu include chamomile tea with honey, and a cool mist humidifier. Just be sure to use one that has a humidity gauge and to keep the level at no higher than around 50 percent to avoid a mold problem.

Children Over 6

For children over the age of 6, symptoms are essentially the same as adults'. And at this point, OTC decongestants and cough suppressants are generally safe, although they're not recommended for children with certain health conditions. For instance, if your child is taking medication for ADHD, ask your doctor before giving your kid a decongestant, since the combination of the two drugs has been shown to cause heart problems.

In addition, kids with asthma or any kind of respiratory problem should stay away from cough suppressants, says Snyder, because these products may make it harder for them to clear secretions from their lungs, which can lead to pneumonia.

Madonna Behen writes about women's and children's health for many acclaimed national magazines, including Woman's Day, Women's Health and Real Simple. A mother of three, she was health director of Woman's Day for a decade.

  • Around the WebMore>>

  • Ohio teacher fired over comment on black president

    Ohio teacher fired over comment on black president

    CINCINNATI (AP) - An Ohio teacher has been fired following allegations that he told a black student who said he wanted to become president that the nation didn't need another black president.The Cincinnati Enquirer reports (http://cin.ci/1kIkFmQ ) the Fairfield Board of Education voted 4-0 on Thursday to fire science teacher Gil Voigt.Voigt didn't immediately return a call for comment Friday but has said the student misquoted him.Voigt, who is white, says what he actually told the teen was th...More >>
    CINCINNATI (AP) - An Ohio teacher has been fired following allegations that he told a black student who said he wanted to become president that the nation didn't need another black president.The Cincinnati Enquirer reports (http://cin.ci/1kIkFmQ ) the Fairfield Board of Education voted 4-0 on Thursday to fire science teacher Gil Voigt.Voigt didn't immediately return a call for comment Friday but has said the student misquoted him.Voigt, who is white, says what he actually told the teen was th...More >>
  • 13-1/2 pound boy born at southeastern Pa. hospital

    13-1/2 pound boy born at southeastern Pa. hospital

    Saturday, April 19 2014 8:54 PM EDT2014-04-20 00:54:06 GMT
    DREXEL HILL, Pa. (AP) - A woman has given birth to a more than 13-pound baby at a southeastern Pennsylvania hospital.Officials at Delaware County Memorial Hospital say Brian and Danielle Dwyer's son born Monday is the largest baby they can recall there.Waldo James Mysterious Dwyer tipped the scales at 13 pounds, 8-1/2 ounces.The couple loved the "Where's Waldo?" books as children, so that's where they got their son's first name.Brian Dwyer said the middle name Mysterious is because Waldo was ...More >>
    DREXEL HILL, Pa. (AP) - A woman has given birth to a more than 13-pound baby at a southeastern Pennsylvania hospital.Officials at Delaware County Memorial Hospital say Brian and Danielle Dwyer's son born Monday is the largest baby they can recall there.Waldo James Mysterious Dwyer tipped the scales at 13 pounds, 8-1/2 ounces.The couple loved the "Where's Waldo?" books as children, so that's where they got their son's first name.Brian Dwyer said the middle name Mysterious is because Waldo was ...More >>
  • Teen suspended for asking Miss America to prom

    Teen suspended for asking Miss America to prom

    Saturday, April 19 2014 8:44 PM EDT2014-04-20 00:44:23 GMT
    YORK, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania high school student is in hot water for asking Miss America to prom during a question and answer session at school.Eighteen-year-old Patrick Farves said he received three days of in-school suspension Thursday because he asked Nina Davuluri to prom.The senior at Central York High School stood up and popped the prom question, then walked to the stage with a plastic flower. Davuluri just laughed and the students cheered.School officials heard about Farves' plan in...More >>
    YORK, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania high school student is in hot water for asking Miss America to prom during a question and answer session at school.Eighteen-year-old Patrick Farves said he received three days of in-school suspension Thursday because he asked Nina Davuluri to prom.The senior at Central York High School stood up and popped the prom question, then walked to the stage with a plastic flower. Davuluri just laughed and the students cheered.School officials heard about Farves' plan in...More >>
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms