Why You're Wrong If You Think Flu Is Harmless?
Created by Dr Shipra Mathur Updated on Aug 08, 2019
Contrary to what people may believe, flu is not just a cold gone bad. Flu is a serious viral illness of the respiratory system i.e the nose, throat, and lungs. It is caused by a virus called Influenza. There are two types of these viruses - A and B, which have several subtypes. One of them is the H1N1 strain, previously known as swine influenza virus.
Flu is a contagious disease and can spread easily among children through coughing, sneezing and personal contact. It is a worldwide problem and affects different regions in different seasons and times. *According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the global attack rate of the infection is estimated to be about 20 -30 % in children.
What Are The Symptoms of Flu?
The symptoms of flu include
- Stuffy nose
- Fever with chills and sweating
- Muscle aches, especially in the back, legs, and arms
- Poor appetite
- Young children may also have vomiting and diarrhea
Flu is Severe and Has a Sharper Onset
Cold and mild flu can seem similar even though they are actually two different illnesses. They are caused by different viruses but do have common symptoms such as the congested nose, cough, and headache. Flu, however, is more severe and has a sharper onset. So, what are some of the warning signs? If your child is infected and if he/she is more likely to have a prominent dry cough (which doesn’t produce any phlegm or mucus), persistent high fever with chills, is lethargic and sometimes finds it difficult to breathe.
All the symptoms thus seem to progress more rapidly in the case of flu infection and are usually more severe.
Can Flu Be Harmful?
Flu infection may be mild, moderate or severe in intensity. Mild to moderate flu is more common and resolves in 4-5 days to a maximum of 2 weeks. However, the infection may progress and cause more inflammation and damage to the organs.
Flu has been associated with a number of complications. Some of these can even be life-threatening.
Pneumonia is one such serious complication, which can be due to the flu virus alone. Even if your child gets infected with a mild flu infection, it can severely weaken his/her immune system. Due to the infections, a buildup of bacteria begins in the body and the weakened immune system may not be able to fight the bacteria. Ear and sinus (in older kids) involvement may also happen.
Other serious complications triggered by flu can include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis) or muscle (myositis) tissues, and multi-organ failure (for example, lung and kidney failure) due to sepsis or blood infection.
How Would You Recognize A Serious illness in Children?
If your child has any of these symptoms, you must get in touch with a doctor as soon as possible.
- Episodes of high fever (above 103°F)
- Difficulty in breathing, fast breathing, or wheezing
- Drowsiness or unusual crankiness
- Excessive vomiting
- Symptoms that improve and then return with a fever or worse cough
Anyone may get infected with the flu virus and serious problems related to it can happen at any age. However, some children are more at risk than others. This could be a child with asthma, heart disease. And, also all otherwise healthy children younger than 5 years, but especially those less than 2 years old.
There are several ways to prevent the flu. Vaccination is one safe and effective method.
It is important for a parent to make themselves aware of the dangerous risks that the flu virus brings with it. And, when there is a way to prevent this deadly virus then why not take a step forward. Click here to take the pledge #IPromiseToStopFlu
This article is meant to help create awareness and spread knowledge. Any decision regarding your health and child's health should be done after consultation with your doctor. Read my full disclosure here. While all efforts are made to keep articles updated, the speed of research in these fields means the information often may change when more research knowledge is available. The authors should be in no way held responsible in that case.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of the public awareness initiative on influenza supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information.