The “Flu” is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza virus.
Flu season generally starts in October and ends in May. Everyone is susceptible, but the highest rate of infection is in children. Flu can cause fever, cough, sore throat, headache, chills, muscle aches and fatigue. Complications include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinusitis, dehydration as well as worsening of chronic medical conditions.
The best prevention is an influenza vaccine — and it is still not too late to get one. Supplies are abundant this year and available at your doctor’s office as well as other clinics. This year, the American Academy of Immunization Practices (ACIP) and The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that all children 6 months of age up through their 19th birthday should get the vaccine. Some people should not be vaccinated and you should discuss this small group with your physician.
Other preventive measures include good hand washing, keeping children and adults who show signs of the disease home until symptoms subside, and limiting the time infants less than 6 months of age spend in public places.
Treatment is supportive: lots of fluids, Acetominophen or Ibuprofen for aches and fever, and rest. Some physician offices have a Rapid Flu Test. If diagnosed in the first 24-72 hours, medications such as Tamilfu or Relenza may be prescribed to shorten the duration and severity of the “Flu”.
Dr. Richard Pervos and Sanders Court Pediatrics have been caring for patients in the Northern Suburbs for over 21 years. Offices are located in Buffalo Grove and Arlington Heights. For more information, go to www.sanderspeds.com.