Winter Flu in Texas
The winter is almost around the corner, which also means the start of the winter flu season. As any responsible parent you probably have been wondering why kids have a higher risk to get sick with the flu in the winter time than during any other seasons, and what you can do to protect your child from getting the winter flu.
Here in the United States flu season usually occurs in the fall and winter with the peaks in flu activity during the months of January and February. However, flu season can start as early as October and last until May.
Scientists do not know for sure why flu activity is more likely to occur in the winter time; however, a few studies suggest that in a dry and cold environment flu virus particles can stay in the air for extended periods of time and travel significantly longer distances than during other – much warmer – seasons. 2008 study by the National Institutes of Health discovered that the flu’s outer coating hardens to a rubbery gel at lower temperatures and as a result it shields the virus and allows it to easily pass from person to person.
Children are also at a higher risk getting the flu due to the fact that school season starts in September. Flu usually spreads through coughing, sneezing, talking or if droplets containing flu germs end up in a child’s nose or mouth. Your child can also get the flu if he or she touches the object that has the flu virus on it and then touches his or her mouth, nose or eyes. With the adequate treatment the flu usually goes away in 1- 2 weeks and rarely lead to a more severe illness, however, children, especially young children, may be contagious for a longer period of time.
Common Flu Symptoms
- Dry cough
- Fever of 100.4°F or above
- Loss of appetite
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Chills and aching muscles
The Common Complications from the Winter Flu
In some cases children may develop the following flu complications:
- Sinus and Ear Infections
- Bacterial Pneumonia
- Worsening of chronic health conditions if your child has some
Children under age 2 are more likely to develop complications from the winter flu.
How to Protect your Child from Getting the Winter Flu
Following these simple steps will help to protect your child and prevent him or her from getting the flu:
- Make sure that your child washes his or her hands with a soap regularly
- Sanitize surfaces at your home regularly in order to eliminate germs
- Teach your child to cover his or her mouth every time he or she coughs or sneezes
- Avoid any social interactions with other people while your child is sick
- Get a flu vaccine
The flu vaccine is the most effective way to protect your child from the flu. If your child is 6 months and older, he or she can get a flu vaccine in one of our offices.
For the majority of times flu can be treated at home. However, if your child develops any complications mentioned above or his or her fever is higher than 102°F, call us to schedule the same day appointment at our Mesquite or Sunnyvale Pediatric Clinic. We also welcome walk-ins and our Night Clinic at Pediatric Clinic of Mesquite is open from 5pm-10pm.
Please contact us if you have any questions about your child health or make an appointment.