Friday, November 21, 2008

Up all night!!

I know I've been a little MIA lately, but the girls have both been battling one doozie of a cold. Between the fevers, vomiting, and diarrhea, I've been up to my neck in chores. Of course my mom swears it's the teething, but I'm just NOT too sure... I did however come across some interesting info, I'd like to share..

The CDC considers young children to be "high risk" for the flu virus and recommends that they receive a flu shot early during the flu season. Typically, January is the height of flu season however; it takes the body about two weeks after vaccination to develop sufficient antibodies to the flu, so we encourage all to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Colds and flu are caused by viruses. "Flu" is the abbreviated name for multiple strains of influenza virus that can result in significant upper respiratory infections. Flu is very different from a cold. It is a much more severe illness, characterized by a high fever, runny nose, extreme fatigue, sore throat, nausea, hacking cough, headache, and muscles aches. Getting the flu carries a high risk of complications including ear infections, pneumonia, dehydration and even death. In fact, influenza causes about 30,000 deaths per year in the United States.

Like the common cold, influenza is spread through respiratory droplets of an infected individual who is coughing or sneezing or by touching something contaminated with virus. Children who are ill with the flu can readily spread the virus to others at risk in the community and should stay home with their parents or caregivers until they recover.

The best defense against the flu is by having your baby or toddler receive the flu vaccine. There are two types of vaccines: one contains an inactivated virus and is given by an injection (a flu shot); the second is a weakened live virus that is sprayed in the nose (FluMist). The flu shot can be given to children six months old and over.

Reasons not to get the flu shot include serious egg allergy, prior reaction to a flu shot, or severe illness at the time the shot is given. The most common side effects of the flu shot are mild pain and swelling at the injection site and a low grade fever. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot get the flu from a flu vaccine!

FluMist is available for children two years old and over. It cannot be given to children with an egg allergy. FluMist is also not recommended if a child has asthma or lives with a person who has a severely weakened immune system. Side effects of FluMist immunization include a runny nose, fever, and sneezing. To achieve optimal immunity from influenza, all children under age eight who are receiving flu vaccine for the first time, must be given a second dose of vaccine one month after the first.

The best advice for preventing the flu is helping your child with good hand hygiene, cleaning shopping carts, avoiding contact with others who are sick and getting flu shots early in the season.

For aches, pains and fever
, you may give your child Tylenol or ibuprofen Motrin or Advil as directed by the manufacturer and your provider. Your child may not want to eat, but should be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids. Your child may be tired and will want and need extra sleep.

For congestion and nasal stuffiness
, you may:

  • Use saline nasal drops every 4 hours while awake. It helps clean out the sinuses and makes it easier to breathe.
  • Put your child to sleep with a humidifier at his or her bedside.

If your child has a fever over 100.5 and difficulty breathing, you will need to have them evaluated by a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

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