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Offered by Janine Lechleitner, CPNP of Premier Pediatrics

While influenza rates remain low nationwide so far this year, we are not “out of the woods” yet. Influenza season is typically from fall through spring, and may wax and wane throughout that time period. The “fl u”, or influenza, is a virus that can cause serious illness, especially in the young, elderly, and immunocompromised individuals. There are several strains of the influenza that exist, and the strains may change from year to year. All influenza viruses, however, cause respiratory illness.

Typical symptoms of infl uenza include:

  • acute onset of high fever
  • chills
  • body aches
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • sore throat
  • dry cough
  • stuff y/runny nose
  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the influenza vaccine yearly. If you have not received a vaccine this season, it is not too late and still recommended.

Regardless of whether you receive the influenza vaccine, there are several way to help keep the influenza virus from spreading. Wash your hands frequently. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze. Do not share cups, utensils, toothbrushes, or other like items. Wash cups, dishes, and utensils in hot soapy water or the dishwasher.

If you or your child develop signs of the influenza, call your doctor. Children especially need to be seen if they are young (under 3-4 months of age) and have a high fever, have rapid breathing or are struggling to breath, will not drink anything or cannot keep any fluids down, are hard to arouse, or look very sick.

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