This is startling information. Most of the deaths occur in less developed countries, but in the U.S., over 100,000 children wind up in the emergency room because of the flu on a yearly basis. This does not take into account all the kids who have to see the doctor for the same complications.
The flu is hard enough on the body. In an undeveloped immune system, the chance for complications increases dramatically. Bronchitis, respiratory tract infections and pneumonia are common in children coping with the flu.
The following symptoms are serious signs that your child may have developed one of the complications above:
Pain in the chest
Vomiting/unable to keep anything down
Painful or difficulty swallowing
Tugging at ears
If you see any of these signs in your child, see your doctor. For the first five signs, don’t wait for the doctor, take your child to the emergency room. Your child may be in serious jeopardy.
There are several things we, as parents, can do to protect our kids from the flu. If all of the adults that are around our children have the flu shot, it is less likely that the child will catch it. In fact, if your child is over six months of age, it may be recommended that he or she also get vaccinated.
While you can’t pass your immunization through breast milk to your child, breastfeeding is one of the best ways of protection. Breastfed babies have stronger immune function than those who are bottle fed.
The rest of the “avoid the flu” advice holds true in protecting our kids. Wash your hands frequently, particularly before picking your child up, offering food, etc. Make sure they wash their hands (if they’re old enough).
It’s next to impossible to prevent a baby or toddler from touching his/her face, though it is a practice you should develop. If you can, in older children, discourage the habit. For infants, the little mittens used to keep them from scratching their face may be a good idea.
Make sure to wipe out the cart areas your child might touch with the antibiotic wipes most grocery stores provide. That includes the little cars that are on the front of some carts. You never know who touched it last or whether or not they were ill. If it was a child with the flu, you can bet some of the virus was left behind.
Talk to your pediatrician to find out more ways to protect your child. If your child has any medical conditions, ask if there is anything specific that you need to do or watch out for. We can keep our children from becoming one of the statistics mentioned above.