We’re in the midst of one of the worst flu seasons in recent years, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. What’s particularly scary about the current flu season is the amount of pediatric deaths. So far, there have been 84 flu-related child deaths in the U.S., but the numbers change weekly.
The flu is rarely deadly for the average healthy person, but for those with a weaker immune system like the elderly and children under the age of five, it can be dangerous. Especially for those who are not vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), any child showing severe signs of the flu should go to the doctor, but it can sometimes be hard to tell whether or not a child is suffering from the flu, a cold, or the severity. To help parents distinguish whether or not their child has the flu and if it’s serious, here are 12 common signs to watch out for…
12. High Fever
One of the most common signs to watch for is a persistent high grade fever that does not subside. According to the New York Times, it will be a fever that will “abate only to flare up again after the child seems to be over the worst of the illness.” WebMD lists a high grade influenza fever as up to 104 degrees fahrenheit (call the doctor if a child under 3 months has a fever that reaches 100.4 degrees). If you do not have a thermometer, use your hand to check how warm their face feels. If they feel warmer than normal with flushed cheeks, are sweating or even shivering, they most likely have a fever.
When a child develops a high grade influenza fever the most important thing to worry about is time. Time is of the essence because a persistent or recurrent fever means the child has developed a complication from the flu, such as pneumonia or another inflammatory response. If this happens, parents must seek medical attention as soon as possible.