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Influenza for children is much more dangerous than a cold. Every year, many children suffer from seasonal flu, and sometimes complications from the flu lead to death. What complications can a child have after the flu and how can it reduce the risk of their occurrence?
Sad facts about influenza in children
- Children often need medical help after the flu, sometimes not up to 5 years because of complications.
- Severe complications from influenza are most common in children under 2 years of age.
- Children with chronic health problems such as asthma, diabetes, and diseases of the brain or nervous system are particularly at risk of developing serious complications from the flu.
- An average of 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized each year due to flu complications.
Influence variations vary in severity, but some children die of the flu every year. From 2003-2004 to 2011-2012, the number of child deaths ranged from 46 to 153 per year. In 2009, when the H1N1 flu pandemic occurred between April 15, 2009 and October 2, 2010, there were 348 child deaths.
What are the symptoms of flu in children?
Influenza symptoms in children are much more serious than cold symptoms. The symptoms of influenza in children start suddenly and usually lead to worsening of the disease within the first two to three days after the onset of the disease. Influenza symptoms in children can include:
- high temperature of 38 degrees Celsius
- Chills, baby shakes in fever
- extreme fatigue
- Headache and pain all over the body
- dry, chopping cough
- Sore throat
- Vomiting and abdominal pain
If all of these symptoms are manifested, you should immediately consult a doctor who will help prevent flu complications in children. Here are some of the most common.
Bacterial pneumonia in children
Bacterial pneumonia is the most common and most serious complication of influenza B. Influenza virus can damage the surface of the lungs in children, restrict breathing and increase the risk of bacterial infections such as bacterial pneumonia.
Bacterial pneumonia occurs when harmful bacteria quickly enter the child’s airways and cause swelling, fluid retention, and inflammation in the air sacs of the lungs. Once the baby’s lungs are filled with fluid, it can be difficult to breathe, causing stinging chest pain, shortness of breath, fever, and coughing.
Bacterial pneumonia can also be life-threatening for older people and people with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular and lung diseases.
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Encephalitis in children
A rare complication associated with influenza B is encephalitis. It usually occurs when the brain becomes inflamed as a result of viral infections such as influenza B. The cause of encephalitis is that the child’s immune system is over-stimulated in the fight against the influenza virus. Fever and headache are the first signs of a disease with encephalitis. Then there may be cramps, confusion or loss of consciousness, drowsiness or coma. Encephalitis can affect people of all ages, but children under 7 and adults over 55 are most susceptible to this infection.
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Myositis in children
A common complication of influenza B, which mainly affects children, is myositis or muscle inflammation. Symptoms of myositis – pain in the legs and muscles of the whole body, this pain often lasts from one to five days. The body muscles responsible for the movement can become inflamed due to the influenza virus Go or moving leads to muscle weakness and pain.
Reye syndrome in children
A relatively small number of children and adolescents who recover from influenza B can develop a neurological disorder called Reye’s syndrome. This complication after the flu in children usually begins with nausea and vomiting and progresses rapidly. Then the child can have confusion and nonsense.
Some children or adolescents can experience this condition after taking aspirin to reduce the pain and chills associated with the flu. It is true that the percentage of these complications is low: fewer than three children with influenza, 100,000 of whom suffer from Reye’s syndrome, but to avoid these conditions, it is always helpful to consult a doctor before taking aspirin as a child.
Protection from complications of children’s influenza – vaccination
The only way to protect your children from the flu is to vaccinate every year.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses. Studies show which of them will be the most common in the next season: Influenza A (H1N1), Influenza A (H3N2) and Influenza B.
Every child aged 6 months and older should be vaccinated against seasonal flu to avoid complications. Children under 5 years of age and children of all ages with poor health, such as asthma, diabetes, or deteriorated brain or nervous system, are at higher risk of severe flu complications (such as pneumonia).
This must be taken into account to reduce the risk of complications from influenza in children from to prevent six months to 18 years.
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