The Flu Bug
Recently, Arnold caught a flu. I’m not sure where he got it from (maybe when we were out at the mall or at the playground), but he was having running nose, followed by a cough and a great loss of appetite. Needless to say, he had been extremely touchy and grouchy, yet he remained hyper active and smiley, all at the same time. Unbelievable! To cut a long story short, it was either his way or no way (and that’s bad).
Doctor had given him medication but he doesn’t seem to be getting any better. We had since separated Sonia and Arnold but sometimes I just couldn’t bear to split the siblings. They wanted to hug each other and I pulled them away? How cruel, but necessary.
It’s not just Arnold. Even the neighbour’s kids are falling sick. And the children at Sonia’s school. The flu bug is activated and we need to stop them with all our might! Really, prevention is better than cure. Try to prevent influenza from spreading and keep your child far far away from those viruses. I don’t want you to suffer the same plight. So I’m keeping my boy far away from your kids (I’m not being unfriendly lah, just trying to be responsible). When your kid is sick, you loss your sleep. Unfortunately, that’s how things work. My MIL had been losing her sleep because of Arnold. That’s why I’m feeling so sorry and grateful. She had scarified so much. Honey, please get well soon!
So I thought it might be useful to share about Influenza.
- What children’s flu is
- How does influenza spread
- Flu symptoms in infant & toddler
- What to do if your child caught the flu bug
- Reduce the spread of flu to others in the house
- Prevention is better than cure
- When should I call the doctor
- Can I continue breastfeeding when I have a flu
WHAT CHILDREN’S FLU IS
Children’s flu (short for “influenza”) is just like the adult variety – a contagious and common viral infection of the throat nose and lungs.
HOW DOES INFLUENZA SPREAD
Children can catch influenza from siblings, parents, other family members, playmates or, really, anyone their have contact with. Germs are usually spread in one of three ways:
- Direct contact – such as kissing, touching or holding hand with an infected person. If you have a virus, you will have germs in your nose, mouth, eyes or on your skin. By touching other people, you can pass on the virus.
- Indirect contact means touching something – a toy, doorknob or a used tissue – that has been touched by an infected person and now has germs on it. Some germs, like the ones that cause colds and diarrhoea, can stay on surfaces for many hours.
- Some germs spread through the air when a person cough or sneezes. Droplets from the cough or sneeze may reach another person’s nose or mouth.
FLU SYMPTOMS IN INFANT & TODDLER
Influenza usually begins with a sudden offset of fever and at least two or three of the following symptoms:
- aches and pains
- cough or noisy breathing
- sore throat and runny nose
- low energy
- nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhoea
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CHILD CAUGHT THE FLU BUG
Adapted from here.
Most children recover within seven days without any treatment. Ensure that your child has plenty of bed rest, encourage them to drink lots of fluids and use paracetamol for pain or discomfort. Do NOT give aspirin to your child if they have influenza as this can lead to serious side effects. Anyway, always check with your doctor before administration of medication.
Antiviral drugs used to treat flu work best when started within the first 48 hours of getting sick. The doctor may start your child on antiviral drugs even after 48 hours from when flu signs started, especially if your child is in the hospital or has a higher chance of severe illness from the flu.
A fever is a temperature greater than or equal to 37.8 degree Celsius.If your child feels warmer than normal, has a flushed appearance, is sweating, or is shivering, your child may have a fever.
If you child has a fever, there are medicines that can be used to reduce the fever. Some are sold over-the-counter. Make sure you talk to your doctor and see what medicine your doctor recommends based on your child’s age.
REDUCE THE SPREAD OF FLU TO OTHERS IN THE HOUSE
You all know that this is a challenge. Probably more difficult to do than teaching a 3-year-old to spell her name but try your best. Sonia and Arnold are almost inseparable.
They love being around each other and are always showering one another lots of hugs and kisses. Separating them is almost cruel but I had to be the bad guy.
Here are ways to reduce the spread of flu to others in the house:
- Keep your sick child in a separate room in the house as much as possible to limit contact with healthy household members.
- Do not allow your child to share food or drinks with others.
- Try to have one person as the main caregiver for the sick child.
- Keep the bathroom your sick child is using extremely clean at all times. Consider disinfecting it daily to make it safe for others to use.
- Keep the house, especially the sick room, well-ventilated at all times.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
Ways to prevent your infant or toddler from getting the flu:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Get your child to do the same! My kids do that a lot and uses their body soap to wash their hands (they use Mustela Dermo-Cleansing). Avoid harsh hand soap. Children’s skin is very sensitive.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, drink plenty of fluid and eat healthy food.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Do not leave them lying around.
WHEN SHOULD I CALL THE DOCTOR
Take your child to the doctor or the emergency room if:
- Your child does not act alert or more comfortable when the fever goes down.
- Your child has a high fever, or recurring fever.
- The child does not have tears when crying.
- The child’s diapers are not wet, or the child has not urinated for the last 8 hours.
- Your child has pain in his ear.
- Your child is breathing fast or having trouble breathing
- You child has a bluish skin colour
CAN I CONTINUE BREASTFEEDING WHEN I HAVE A FLU
Breastfeeding picture source from here.
This question had been asked too many times and many are led to believe that they might pass the flu to their child via their breast milk. No, that’s not true. Don’t let anyone tell you that. I have checked this with my family doctor Dr. Lawrence Wong, and genealogist, Dr. Adelina Wong. Both said that I should continue nursing my baby while being treated for the flu. Breast milk passes antibodies from you to your baby. Antibodies help fight off infection.
- If you are too sick to breastfeed, pump and have someone give your milk to your baby.
- Be careful not to cough or sneeze in the baby’s face. Wear a mask. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
Take care and be safe.