Real Moms Miami Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

 

Getting Thru the Flu

 


 

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Influenza is a viral infection affecting the respiratory system. With the peak of flu season upon us, here are some tips for families to stay healthy.

Prevention includes vaccination, hand washing, sanitizing surfaces, and avoiding contact with sick individuals. The flu affects the respiratory system and causes symptoms such as fever, cough, headache, body aches, chills, sore throat, stuffy nose, and even vomiting (more likely in children). Some of the more serious complications of infection with the influenza virus in children include dehydration and pneumonia. In order to prevent serious complications from occurring, parents can utilize appropriate fever reducers for children’s age and maintain adequate hydration. Cough should be evaluated if it persists or causes shortness of breath. Persons with certain medical conditions or asthma should take extra care to prevent the flu as well as small children and the elderly.

 

Myth: You can only contract the flu by close contact with an infected individual.

Influenza is a highly contagious virus which can live on surfaces for up to 12 hours. Droplets such as are created by sneezing can transmit infection from great distances.

 

Myth: Vaccination against the flu will prevent you from contracting the flu.

The flu vaccine prevents infection by the four strains included in it. If you contract a strain of the virus not included, you can become infected, however, typically the illness will be much less severe. Also keep in mind that it takes about 2 weeks for the protective antibodies to be developed after vaccination so infection may occur before protection has fully developed.

 

Myth: Getting the flu shot will give you the flu.

The flu vaccine available this year via intramuscular injection is NOT a live virus. Antibodies are created as a response to vaccination in order to allow the body the defenses necessary to block an infection by the specific strains of influenza contained in the vaccine. The vaccine typically protects against four of the most common virus strains selected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

 

Myth: Antibiotics can be used to treat the flu.

Influenza is a virus which will not be affected by antibiotic medications. Prescription antivirals are available if symptoms are identified within 3 days for applicable candidates.
As previously stated, prevention is key during this season especially for children under 5, the elderly, and anyone with specific medical conditions. Teaching children to cover their cough and wash their hands often can prevent the spread of the virus to their classmates. If your child develops flu like symptoms, physicians can test for the flu with a swab of the nostrils. A luke-warm bath can help ease discomfort in children while waiting for appropriate fever reducers to take effect. Pedialyte and other fluids can help reduce the risks of dehydration in young children with fever. For more information on influenza in your region, visit the CDC’s website.

Jessica Warren

BSN, RN, CPN (Certified Pediatric Nurse)

  • Graduated from The University of Miami with my BSN.
  • Currently getting my MSN (Masters of Scientific Nursing in Nursing Leadership and Management) from the University of Central Florida.
  • Born and raised in Miami.
  • Passionate about children’s health and wellness ❤️

Disclaimer

Last updated: December 19, 2019

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