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The flu can be a miserable illness, with headache, sort throat, fever, muscle aches, cough and running nose and some. times vomiting or diarrhea. Occasionally there is such sever. pain in the calf muscles that the child is reluctant to walk. Fever can last a week or so, the cough even longer.

A person can come down with the flu just a few days after being exposed to it; usually symptoms start five to seven day. after exposure. Even before the person begins to feel sick, she will be contagious and will remain so until the fever is gone. This why the illness spreads so rapidly.

Flu vaccines are available, but because the virus changes, new vaccines must be made each year to keep up. Children with asthma and other chronic lung conditions, heart disease, diabetes and some neurological disorders should have the flu vaccine each year. Otherwise healthy children, especially children under age two, also benefit from the vaccine.

Treatment for influenza

The treatment for influenza is to keep the child comfortable have her rest at home until her temperature remains normal for twenty-four hours; offer fluids that appeal to the child every hour or even half hour, but do not force them; and give her aracetamol or ibuprofen for the fever and aches. (Never give asprin to children or teenagers with the flu; it increases their sceptibility to Reye's syndrome )

Early in the flu, treatment with a specific antiviral medication help to shorten the illness. The doctor should be called at the onset of the flu and again if the child seems unusually ill, has an earache or trouble breathing or after several days isn't getting better. Ear infections, sinusitis or pneumonia can follow influenza as secondary infections and need treatment with antibiotics.

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