This flu season, children appear to be at higher risk. One of the reasons? This year’s flu vaccine is “not a very good match” for a common strain of the flu that’s especially tough on children, according to the nation’s top infectious disease doctor.
Flu symptoms usually appear 1-4 days after exposure and leave you most contagious in the first 3-4 days after illness begins. Otherwise healthy people are able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. You can expect for your child to be home with you for up to 7 days to fully recover before returning to school. Sending your child back to school too soon can leave them vulnerable to other illnesses and infect others with the virus.
Flu-like symptoms include:
- Fever (100.4 degrees F. or higher) or feverish with chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
- A feeling of being very tired
- Vomiting or diarrhea (more common in children than adults)
Teach your children how to avoid getting the flu and how to protect others from becoming infected.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when sick.
- Wash hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or by coughing into the inside of the elbow. Wash hands after blowing the nose or coughing into a tissue, and dispose of tissues after use.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent the spread of germs.
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