ensuring success in children age 0-5 in hardin and marshall county, iowa

Early childhood blog


If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it’s that diseases travel fast. Soon, flu season will be quickly upon us. Here is what you need to know to keep your family healthy.

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. The flu is different from a cold and usually comes on suddenly. While flu illness can vary from mild to severe, children often need medical care because of the flu. Children younger than 5 years old and children of any age with certain long-term health problems are at increased risk of flu complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus, and ear infections.   

Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, feeling tired, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). The first and best way to protect against flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine for yourself and your child. Stay away from people who are sick as much as possible to keep from getting sick yourself. If you or your child are sick, avoid others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. Also, remember to regularly cover your coughs and sneezes, wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and clean surfaces that may be contaminated with flu viruses. 

Even healthy children can get very sick from the flu. If your child is experiencing the following emergency warning signs, you should go to the emergency room: 

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing 
  • Bluish lips or face 
  • Ribs pulling in with each breath 
  • Chest pain 
  • Severe muscle pain (child refuses to walk) 
  • Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying) 
  • Not alert or interacting when awake 
  • Seizures ​
  • Fever above 104°F 

People with flu may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to up to 5 to 7 days after. Severely ill people or young children may be able to spread the flu longer, especially if they still have symptoms.  Your child should stay home to rest and to avoid spreading the flu to other children or caregivers. Keep your child home from school, daycare, or camp for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone. (The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) A fever is defined as 100°F (37.8°C)* or higher.

A healthy home is a happy home. Please stay happy and healthy this winter.

Carrie Kube
Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Director
Facebook: @irveca

Disclosure: Carrie Kube is a Director for the Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board.  All thoughts and opinions expressed are that of the author and not the Board and/or its community partners.

Source: www.cdc.gov