Flu in children With the onset of winter, children become increasingly prone to influenza infections highlighting the importance of preventive measures and good hygiene practices. New Delhi, Dec 26, 2016: Influenza is a viral illness and it often manifests in a mild form in children. Influenza infections are most frequent in winter and children are especially susceptible to infection due to weaker immune system. The classical features of uncomplicated flu in children include abrupt onset of fever, headache, muscle pain and malaise affected by manifestation of respiratory tract illness – sore throat, sough and nasal discharge. Flu symptoms in children are usually very similar to the symptoms of a cold, or upper respiratory tract infection. It might also cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea in occasional cases. Padma Shri Awardee Dr. K.K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and National President Elect Indian Medical Association (IMA), adds “ Flu is highly contagious, particularly when kids stay in close vicinities like they do in school classrooms. The spread of influenza occurs when children inhale droplets that are coughed up or sneezed by an infected person, or when they come in direct contact with mucus or spit from someone who has the disease. The best way to avoid flu in children is to get a yearly vaccination. Parents should consult a physician for the same. ” Ear discharge, development into asthma and pneumonia are common complications in children. Complicated pneumonia may be severe and rapidly fatal, especially if the bacterium is Staph. However, it is not necessary that all the mentioned symptoms be present in all children, individual variations do occur. Moreover, the duration of fever can also last from a week to upto ten days. “During winter, flu should be considered in all children with fever; children with fever and acute onset of respiratory illness; children with fever and exhilaration of underlying chest condition; children with pneumonia and children with fever of more than 100, with severe cough or sore throat. In 95% of the cases, more than 39oC fever is present and about 77% of the cases present with cough and nasal discharge. The treatment is often symptomatic. Paracetamol should be given in recommended doses upto 48 hours and encourage your child to rest and drink lots of fluids, preferably warm fluids. One important point to remember is that flu is caused by a virus, so antibiotics won’t help and can even cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea.”, adds Dr. K.K Aggarwal.