The flu and pneumonia are among the most common causes of hospitalization for children, and many parents fear that the flu is going to be the one to claim their child this year. Because of this, some parents have started to have their children vaccinated against the flu as a precautionary measure. But does the flu actually cause more hospitalizations among children? And if so, how much more? These are just a few of the questions that parents need to be asking about the flu and its impact on children.
If you have a child, you probably know that they’re constantly doing everything they can to not get in trouble. And while you understand that their well-being comes first and foremost, you also know that the end result is always the same: trouble. The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to help keep your child safe and healthy this winter. Here’s everything you need to know about the flu and pneumonia in children:
What is the flu and how does it spread?
Flu and Pneumonia is caused by the influenza virus. The virus is spread through airborne droplets from coughing or sneezing individuals as well as contaminated surfaces, such as doorknobs, computer keyboards, or faucet handles. The flu can also be passed from one person to another by direct contact with infected coughs and sneezes. When an individual is infected with the flu virus, they have very mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, headache, and fatigue. If the individual is not careful, however, the virus can rapidly progress to severe flu-related complications such as pneumonia or hospitalization.
In order for the flu to spread, it takes two things: Someone with the flu must be in close contact with other people who are also infected, and those people must breathe in the same airborne droplets that the person with flu has been exhaling.
Which children are at risk for flu-related complications?
Children younger than 5 years old, pregnant women, and anyone with a chronic illness such as asthma or diabetes are at greater risk for Flu and Pneumonia-associated complications because their immune systems are less capable of fighting off the infection.
Children with asthma are particularly susceptible to respiratory infections, which can make them more likely to experience complications of the flu. Children with a health condition that interferes with their immune system are at high risk of developing a serious flu-related complication such as pneumonia and/or hospitalization. These conditions include conditions that affect a child’s immune system, such as cancer, leukemia, or organ transplants; immunocompromised conditions such as congenital immunodeficiencies or HIV/AIDS; and conditions in which a child is receiving treatment with steroids or other immuno-suppressants. As a result, doctors often advise children with one of these conditions to avoid getting the flu.
How do you know if your child has the flu?
Flu symptoms are often similar to those of a cold and can come on suddenly.
Flu symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, a dry cough, nausea, diarrhea, muscle or body aches, and a general feeling of being sick. The fever, cough, and other flu symptoms usually appear two to seven days after infection and last one to two days. You can usually tell if your child has the flu by looking at the symptoms. They are often similar to those of a common cold, but they include specific flu symptoms such as fever, a cough, sore throat, or body aches .
If your child has these symptoms and has been exposed to someone who has the flu, they may have the flu. People at highest risk of severe flu complications who have had the flu include people with the following health conditions:
Is getting your child vaccinated against the flu worth it?
Vaccinating your child against the flu is not a guaranteed way to protect them from the illness. No vaccines prevent 100% of flu infections, and the best way to protect your child against the flu is to stay healthy yourself by practicing good hand-washing habits, avoiding close contact with others who are sick, and getting plenty of rest.
There are three strains of flu that affect humans: A, B, and C. While all three strains can cause Flu and Pneumonia serious illness in some people, only two of these strains – A and B – make people at high risk for flu complications very sick, requiring hospitalization. C does not make people sick enough to require hospitalization.
A vaccine is designed to protect against the two strains that make people sick enough to be hospitalized. Vaccination is a good option for parents who have children who are at high risk for severe flu complications.
The best ways to keep your child healthy during flu season
Parents should get their child vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible as a child’s immune system is not as strong as an adult’s. If your child has not yet been vaccinated, they should be vaccinated as soon as possible. Parents should also make sure that their child is getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of water, and taking medicine for common cold symptoms of Flu and Pneumonia.
Parents should also consider using a germ-reduction product such as a humidifier or a vaporizer to help keep their home free of germs. Not only will this help keep your child healthy, but it will also help prevent the spread of the flu to your family and friends.
What is the flu?
The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. It usually starts with symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches, and sore throat. This is followed by cough, congestion, and fatigue. Even though everyone gets sick at different times, the flu is highly contagious. People can get it from other people by touching them, breathing in airborne droplets, or touching objects that someone has touched that has the flu on it. The flu is most common during winter and spring.
This year’s flu season started early and on the rise again in February. Flu viruses are constantly changing. They come in two types: Type A and type B. This year, about half of all circulating flu viruses are type A. You can’t tell what type of flu a person will have just by looking at them.
How is the flu transmitted?
It’s easiest for flu to spread when people are around someone who is sick. That’s why it’s important to get a flu shot early in the season. The flu can be passed very easily from one person to another. That’s why it’s so important to get vaccinated as soon as the flu season starts. It’s also possible to get the flu by touching surfaces that have flu germs on them, like doorknobs, light switches, or toys.
The flu can also be caught by breathing in airborne particles that are released when someone with the flu sneezes, coughs, or talks. This is called “sneezing-droplet transmission.” Even when you’re sick, you can pass the flu virus to others this way.
How is pneumonia transmitted?
Most people catch the flu virus and recover before they develop pneumonia. About one in five get pneumonia, however. It’s caused by the same viruses that cause the flu. These viruses can infect the lungs, but not everyone who has the flu gets pneumonia.
Pneumonia is usually caused by bacteria such as Streptococcus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or Haemophilus influenzae. In most cases, pneumonia is caused by multiple bacteria. It’s not always clear which bacteria are responsible for a person developing pneumonia.
How to protect yourself from the flu
If you’re sick with the flu, stay home. Sick people are more contagious than healthy people. You’re not contagious until you have symptoms. If you have to go out, there are a few things you can do.
- Cover your mouth and nose with tissues when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth because germs on your hands can easily make their way to your eyes or nose.
- Wash your bed sheets, duvet, and anything else you used during your illness.
How to protect yourself from pneumonia
The best way to protect yourself from pneumonia is to get vaccinated. You can get the flu shot before the flu season starts as well as in between seasons, when it’s still too early in the year for the flu shot. The best time to get the flu shot is during the fall. That’s when the viruses that cause the flu are the most active. You can also get the flu shot as late as mid-March.
You can also protect yourself from pneumonia by getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and staying away from cigarettes and other things that make you breathe more quickly.
Stay away from people who are sick.
Avoid sickening others by staying home if you’re sick.
Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing so others don’t breathe in airborne particles that can transmit the illness.
Wash your hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth because germs on your hands can easily make their way to your eyes or nose.
Stay away from sick people.
Stay home if you’re sick with the flu.
If you have to go out, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, wash your hands frequently, and stay away from others.
Stay away from sick people.
If you’re sick for a week or more, stay home so you don’t spread the illness to others who aren’t sick.
When you’re sick, drink fluids and rest as much as you can. This will reduce your fever and make you feel better faster.
Should I take medication if I’m sick with the flu or pneumonia?
If you’re sick with the flu or pneumonia and need medication, talk to your doctor about it. Most people recover without any treatment. If you’re prescribed medication, use it as directed.
If you’re prescribed a flu shot, you don’t need to get the shot every year. Flu and Pneumonia shot only protects you against the strains in the vaccine.
Should you be worried about the H3N2 strain?
Flu and Pneumonia are the H3N2 strain of the influenza virus is similar to the H3N2 strain that is currently circulating. The H3N2 strain is not as common as other strains, however, and it’s not expected to be as severe. It’s also less likely to lead to pneumonia.
There are other flu strains that are less common but more serious than the H3N2 strain, including the H1N1 strain. That’s why it’s important to get vaccinated year round and avoid getting the flu or pneumonia whenever possible.
The flu is a nasty disease that’s easily transmitted. The best way to protect yourself from catching the flu is to get vaccinated. You can also protect yourself from the flu by staying home if you get sick, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, washing your hands frequently, and staying away from sick people.
People who are sick for a week or more should stay home so they don’t pass on the virus to others who aren’t sick. You should also drink plenty of fluids and rest as much as you can while you’re sick. This will help you feel better faster and protect your immune system from being weakened by the virus.