The H1N1 influenza (also known as Swine Flu) is still affecting many people, especially children, in our region. The Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper urges parents to get your child the H1N1 vaccine. Our physicians hope that this information prepared by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will help you manage if your child becomes ill with the flu.
Most people with 2009 H1N1 have had mild illness and have not needed medical care and the same is true of seasonal flu. However, the flu can be serious, especially for young children (risk is highest in children younger than 2 years) and children of any age who have certain chronic medical conditions. These conditions include asthma or other lung problems, diabetes, weakened immune systems, kidney disease, heart problems and neurological and neuromuscular disorders. Children with these conditions can have more severe illness from any flu, including from the 2009 H1N1 flu virus.
If your child is 5 years or older and otherwise healthy and gets flu-like symptoms, including a fever and/or cough, consult your doctor as needed. Make sure your child gets plenty of rest and drinks enough fluids.
If your child is younger than 5 (and especially younger than 2), or you have a child of any age with a medical condition like asthma, diabetes, or a neurologic problem, and develops flu-like symptoms, ask a doctor if your child should be examined. This is because younger children (especially children younger than 2), and children who have chronic medical conditions, may be at higher risk of serious complications from flu infection, including 2009 H1N1 flu. Talk to your doctor early if you are worried about your child’s illness.
Call the doctor or take your child to a doctor right away if your child seems very sick with any of these symptoms:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing.
- Bluish or gray skin color.
- Not drinking enough fluids.
- Severe or persistent vomiting.
- Not waking up or not interacting.
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held.
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
- Has other conditions (like heart or lung disease, diabetes, or asthma) and develops flu symptoms, including a fever and/or cough.
Remember that the flu spreads through sneezes and coughs of someone with the flu, or if you touch an object with the flu viruses on it and then touch your mouth or eyes. Using good hygiene can help you and your child to stay healthy.
If you would like further information about protecting your child from H1N1, please click here to view the CDC’s Seasonal and 2009 H1N1 Flu: A Guide for Parents.