How to tell if your child has the flu

April 17, 2009 10:56:53 AM PDT
If you are sick with the flu or know someone who has been, you are not alone. The flu virus is widespread across our area right now, but it's not the only thing going around Houston. So how do parents know whether their sick kids have the flu, strep throat, or just a cold? For a cold virus, it's chicken soup and some TLC. If it's the flu or something worse, you should head for the doctor.

Ahlyria Hopkins, 6, has the flu.

"It feels a lot yucky and scary," she said.

Yucky and scary are good descriptions, but so are achy and high fever which are two classic flu symptoms.

Ahlyia's mother, Tonya Hopkins said, "About Wednesday she still wasn't feeling better and was still running a 102-degree and 103-degree fever."

Houston is at the peak of the flu season.

Dr. Johnnie Frazier, a University of Texas Houston Pediatrician, said, "We're seeing lot of parents bringing their children in with high fever, with cough nasal drainage, body aches, congestion, poor activity, decreased appetite."

Rapid flu tests show that Flu A is making people sick in Houston. The state of Texas is one of 16 states where the flu is now widespread according to the CDC. In Houston, there have been two reported cases of flu deaths this season.

As far as treatment, Dr. Frazier recommends, "Lots of fluids, steam vapor, Tylenol or Motrin for the body aches and fever."

Flu isn't the only thing showing up now. Strep throat is going around causing high fever and people are passing around the common cold.

Dr. Frazier explained how to tell the difference. "If your child is not active and listless, has a high fever of 103 or 104 and seems to ache or hurt, then take them to the doctor," she said. "We are seeing kids who annually get the flu shot come in with flu like symptoms."

Even though the flu shot isn't 100% effective, it's still worth getting.

If you catch the flu, remember flu medicines generally work only within the first 48 hours.

Dr. Frazier said we're at the peak of the flu season now and the number of new cases may soon plateau, and start declining.

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Christi Myers is ABC13's Healthcheck reporter

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