When to Go To ER for Flu Child

When to Go To ER for Flu Child

March 7, 2023

Many people are worried about catching a cold or flu during the winter. Influenza, commonly referred to as flu, is a contiguous viral infection that attacks the lungs’ air passages. It’s often associated with a cough, high fever, body aches, and other mild to severe symptoms. Young children, people with a weakened immune system, people with chronic conditions, and pregnant women are often at great risk of influenza.

It often keeps one in bed for several days, then they recover. Children below five years and those with chronic illnesses are at a greater risk of complications from influenza. You should take your child to an ER if they experience serious symptoms. If not quickly treated, flu can lead to lung infections like pneumonia and even death.

What causes flu in children?

Influenza is a vital infection. It’s highly contiguous in infants, toddlers, and kids under five years, primarily due to their lack of developed immune systems and prior exposure to the virus. Similarly, children are likely to easily catch the flu since they like touching everything in sight, including people’s faces and objects, and then touching their noses, eyes, and mouths.

Influenza can result from flu viruses, often categorized into three types:

  • Influenza type A and B. These viruses often cause widespread illness in winter. It usually requires medical care and leads to deaths. Unfortunately, stopping the spread of these viruses is hard as they tend to mutate often, exposing people to new types of viruses each season.
  • Influenza type C. The virus often causes mild or no respiratory illness or symptoms. Influenza C is unlikely to cause epidemics like influenza type A and B.

These viruses spread to children from parents, siblings, and others through coughing, sneezing, or touching their faces. A child can also get influenza after touching contaminated surfaces, like doorknobs, pens, phones, and tables, and then touching their mouth, eyes, or nose. Influenza can also be passed by sharing utensils and drinks.

Most people are most contagious 24 hours before symptoms show and when symptoms are most active. The risk of passing it to others often lasts for 5 – 7 days of the illness.

Call Now – 832-619-7937

    Is your Child at a greater risk of influenza?

    Your child is at a greater risk of the flu if they:

    • Haven’t had the flu vaccine
    • Are around people infected with flu
    • Like touching everything in sight
    • Like touching their nose, mouth, and eyes
    • Have certain health conditions such as:
      • Diabetes
      • Asthma
      • Kidney disease
      • Heart disease
      • Neuromuscular disorders like cerebral palsy
      • Neurologic conditions like epilepsy

    Symptoms your child has flu

    Signs of flu are often mistaken for a cold. While flu attacks the respiratory system, it can affect your child’s whole body. The symptoms can range from mild to severe. A child can fall ill suddenly with any of the following symptoms:

    • Fever, as high as 103°F to 105°F (39.4°C to 40.5°C)
    • Cough that gets worse
    • Sore throat
    • Body aches
    • Tiredness
    • Poor feeding
    • Headaches
    • Stuffy or runny nose
    • Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
    • Fewer diapers
    • Tearless crying

    When to Go to the ER

    Sometimes flu can lead to severe symptoms and complications in children. Go to an ER near you or call 911 if your child is experiencing the following symptoms:

    • Shortness of breath, fast breathing, or difficulty breathing
    • Blue lips and skin
    • Dehydration with dry lips, sunken eyes, or decreased urination
    • Stiff neck
    • Excessive vomiting
    • Seizures or convulsions
    • Non-responsiveness
    • Severe lethargy
    • Become unresponsive
    • Crying without tears
    • Refusing to feed
    • Not feeding
    • Bulging soft spot on the head

    Fever in children older than two years may not prompt you to go to the ER, primarily if it responds to ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If you’re unsure whether your child needs immediate care, you can call your doctor or visit an urgent care facility near you.

    If not treated promptly, flu can lead to secondary infections and complications such as:

    • Lung infection (pneumonia)
    • Worsened allergy symptoms
    • Severe asthma or asthma attack
    • Sinus and ear infections
    • Nervous system and brain infections like meningitis and encephalitis
    • Death

    You can reduce your child’s risk of complications from the flu by having them vaccinated. The flu vaccine decreases the risk of severe flu ICU cases by 75%.

    Treatment for Flu in children

    Treatment for flu in children will depend on the type of flu and its symptoms. Treatments can include:

    • Antiviral drugs like Tamiflu
    • Antibiotics
    • Oxygen therapy for lung complications
    • Anti-inflammatory drugs for lung inflammation
    • Intravenous (IV) saline for dehydration

    Visit our emergency room in Houston

    .Does your child have serious symptoms or complications from the flu? Contact Fairfield Emergency Room right away for immediate medical care.