At the onset of flu season, it’s again the outbreak of H1N1 (swine flu) Let us know a few salient features of swine flu to cope with this outbreak and save young children from its complications.
How do I know if my kid is having flu?:
- The symptoms of Swine Flu are the same as those seen with regular, seasonal influenza
- The main symptoms are fever, cough, sore throat and runny nose
- Fever is usually present
- Other common symptoms are muscle pain, headache, and fatigue
- Some kids also have vomiting and diarrhea, but never as the only symptom
Children are considered HIGH-RISK for complications if they have any of the following conditions:
- Lung disease (such as asthma)
- Heart disease (such as a congenital heart disease)
- Cancer or weak immune system conditions
- Neuromuscular disease (such as muscular dystrophy)
- All Healthy children under 2 years old are also considered HIGH-RISK
How to check swine flu spread?
- Transmission: The swine flu virus is spread via airborne droplets, from sneezing and coughing, just like other influenza viruses. It also can be transmitted by hands contaminated with secretions. It no longer has anything to do with pigs; it is only spread person-to-person. Swine flu is NOT transmitted by eating pork.
- Infective Period: A person is contagious for 1 day before and for 7 days after the onset of symptoms (e.g., the fever and cough)
Complications of Swine Flu
Children who develop the following complications need to be seen by their doctor:
- Ear infections and sinus infections occur in 10% of children
- Pneumonia: both viral and secondary bacterial (mainly in HIGH-RISK children)
- Influenza-induced flare-ups in those with asthma
- Dehydration, often due to a severe sore throat that limits fluid intake
- Muscle pains (viral myositis) in the legs can be severe and cause limping or refusal to walk