Flu In Adults Vs. Flu In Children: What Parents Need To Know

Health & Medical Blog

The flu season peaks during the month of February in most areas of the Northern hemisphere, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also states that the flu virus can change from year to year, so the vaccine may not always protect you and your family from the flu. Flu affects children differently than adults and can be more sever, so parents need to understand how it can affect their children.

Understanding the Flu

Flu is short for influenza, and the virus affects the lungs, airways and throat. It is often confused with a stomach virus, which is often referred to as "stomach flu," which is actually a gastrointestinal problem and not true influenza. Stomach flu is an irritation of the stomach and intestines, and may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. The main symptoms are stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

One reason for the confusion may be that symptoms of seasonal flu in children can differ from those in adults and may include gastrointestinal problems.

Adult symptoms are often not as severe and may include the following:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • All over achy feeling
  • Sore throat
  • Cough 
  • Headache

Children often have these symptoms and more.

  • Swollen glands
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose
  • Ear ache
  • Red, sore and watery eyes

Calling Your Doctor

Influenza is a virus, so antibiotics do not help. Antiviral medications are available to help ease severe symptoms, but antiviral medications are not a cure. Home treatment is the same for adults and children.

  • Rest for a few days or until fever is normal
  • Drink lots of liquids
  • Take acetaminophen for fever and pain

While flu symptoms generally begin to improve after the first few days, in some people symptoms may worsen or linger. In these cases, medical care is necessary. 

Call a doctor if symptoms aren't improving and if other symptoms, like the following, occur:

  • High fever or a fever lasting more than 3 days
  • Trouble breathing
  • Deep cough with chest pain and mucus
  • Ongoing nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

Preventing Flu's Spread

Because flu is a virus, it can spread easily from person to person through contact with a germ-infested surface. Washing your hands and keeping your children's hands clean is one of the most effective ways of preventing it from spreading to other family members.

The incubation period for the flu virus ranges from 1 to 4 days, with an average of 2 days. However, you may be able to infect others 24 hours before you have symptoms and up to 7 days after symptoms subside. It is important to take extra precautions during this time when someone in your household has the flu.

If you are unsure if your child has the flu or some other virus, you can call your family doctor to discuss the child's symptoms and schedule an appointment or visit urgent care, if necessary. 


13 February 2015

Allergy Relief: You Have More Options Than You Think

As a child, I used to spend my days roaming through the woods. I climbed trees, smelled the flowers, and laid in the grass looking at the clouds. My love for nature continued through my teen years, but when I turned 23, I began to sneeze whenever I left my home. I could no longer enjoy my outdoor hikes and I started taking antihistamines so I could at least open my windows on warm days. My allergies got worse though and I met with an allergist who completed a variety of skin tests. I started receiving allergy shots and my allergist taught me about natural cleaning processes and sinus rinses. The injections and natural treatments improved my quality of life greatly. Even if you do not want to start allergy injections, you have a variety of options that can lessen your symptoms, and you should learn what these options are.