High Risk Groups:
Children less than 2 years old
People with certain chronic medical conditions
Asthma and other respiratory problems
Congenital Heart Disease
Children on chronic Aspirin therapy
Some other chronic diseases
Symptoms of Influenza:
Fever, chills, cough, headache, sore throat, body aches
The most effective way to prevent Influenza is vaccination. We recommend that all children older than 6 months receive influenza vaccine this season. The first year a child gets an Influenza vaccine, they need 2 doses, >4 weeks apart.
Hygiene: Careful hand washing is the next best line of defense. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into your elbow. Kids shouldn't share food or drinks. Avoid touching your eyes and mouth - germs spread that way. Parents will need to make responsible decisions about sending sick children to school or daycare. Children with fever and respiratory symptoms should not be in school and shouldn't return until they feel better and have been fever-free for at least 24 hours.
Anti-viral Prophylaxis: Children in the high-risk groups with close exposure to Influenza will be considered for prophylactic treatment with anti-viral medications (e.g. Tamiflu) in some cases. Children without risk factors will not be eligible for prophylactic anti-virals per CDC recommendation.
Treatment: Children who are not considered high-risk and don't have severe symptoms will generally not need treatment with anti-viral medications (e.g. Tamiflu) per CDC recommedations. In general, these children should stay home, rest, push fluids, and take Ibuprofen or Acetominophen. Patients requiring hospitalization or those in a high-risk group with symptoms of Influenza may benefit from treatment with anti-viral medications when they can be started within 48 hours of disease onset.
The CDC will answer questions from the general public about Influenza 24 hours a day 7 days a week at CDC INFO. 1 (800) CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636)