What should you do if your child gets H1N1 swine flu? It’s a question many parents
are facing this flu season. While the majority of cases for children and teens have been mild, requiring
only home treatment, a growing number
of children -- some with no underlying medical conditions -- have
needed hospitalization or have died from the disease.
Here are answers to common questions about treating H1N1 swine flu in your
children and advice on when you need to seek medical attention.
Swine Flu Outbreak: Get the Facts
Get the latest swine flu facts and information from WebMD, the CDC and other
public health agencies.
What if your child gets sick? What are symptoms of swine flu in children?
"Influenza is very different from the common cold,” says Joseph Bocchini,
MD, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious
Disease. Bocchini is also chairman of the department of pediatrics at Louisiana
State University. “Classically, with influenza, children have sudden onset of
with respiratory symptoms. High fever, chills. Older children will complain of
throat, and muscle aches. Children will develop a nasal congestion and cough."
What should parents do if their child has flu-like symptoms?
This flu season, it's more important than ever to keep sick children at home
until at least 24 hours after their symptoms go away.
“If a child has mild illness, or something that looks like the flu, with
fever and chills, headache, body ache, coughing, sore throat, they should
definitely stay home from school or day care, says pediatrician
Heather O’Donnell, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the
Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Bronx, N.Y. "They should continue taking
Motrin for fever. Parents should encourage hydration.”
If your child is 5 years old or older and is otherwise healthy, consult your
doctor as needed -- and follow O'Donnell's advice to make sure the child drinks
enough fluids and gets a lot of rest.
If your child is younger than 5, or if your child of any age has a medical
condition such as asthma, diabetes, or a neurologic problem, call your doctor or
get medical attention. Younger kids and kids with longstanding medical
conditions are at risk of serious disease if they get either seasonal or
pandemic H1N1 swine flu.
Are there signs parents should watch for?
“Parents should monitor closely for any signs that children are getting
worse, if they have any difficulty breathing, if they are not able to drink, or
are not urinating well, if they are very irritable even after their fever goes
down, if they have any sort of
rash, or if the fever goes down and flu
symptoms get better, then get worse again," O'Donnell says.
Call a doctor or seek immediate medical attention if your child: