The flu… a plague for children too

Martine Bernier

Health journalist, editor-in-chief

October 8, 2022

Many think that flu is an adult disease. Not at all: it also affects babies and children, and they are even at great risk. In fact, a child is three times more likely to get the flu than a young adult.

However, the symptoms are very different depending on the age. From 1 year, they resemble those of adults (fever, aching limbs, chills, cough, fatigue…), but they can be confused with the symptoms of other diseases. For others, such as indigestion and drowsiness, may be added. The flu can also lead to other complications such as otitis media or influenza respiratory infections, but fortunately, this is rare. In the case of these problems, it is then also necessary to take medication. It must therefore be taken seriously and cured properly. Schoolchildren are the most exposed. They are the main carriers of flu. If your child has the flu and is under 6 months old, be sure to see a doctor. If he is older, focus on relieving his symptoms, especially the fever. A child is said to have a fever once the temperature is above 38°C. The fever is a normal defense mechanism of the body, but it should be treated above 38.5°C if the child is visibly unwell. To get relief, it should take off unnecessary clothes and the apartment should not be too warm. Do not forget to give him plenty to drink regularly. The fever deprives the child of moisture, which also contributes to the persistence of his discomfort.

Child migraine

When a child complains of frequent headaches, the question arises whether he or she may be suffering from migraines. The first thing to do in this case is to make a diagnosis. Migraine is a genetic disease. If parents, grandparents or other family members suffer from it, The flu … also for children a plague also the child can be affected. If the child has frequent headaches, have him or her examined by a doctor. The doctor will try to find out where the pain occurs (in the temples, forehead, sometimes in the eyes or in the back of the head) and in what form (does it interfere with playing or working? Is it throbbing?). The doctor will also ask about accompanying symptoms such as pallor, dizziness, sensitivity to light and noise, visual disturbances, abdominal pain and even vomiting. A migraine attack can last from a few hours to several days, although it is relatively short in children.

Trigger factors are many: intense concentration on a task or work on the computer, too much or too little sleep, a blow to the head, a strong smell, anger, stress, excitement or a crying fit, a car or car trip, heat, physical exertion, etc.

It is advisable to have the child keep a migraine diary, noting the exact day of the migraine, how severe the pain was and what triggered it, the medications taken and whether they helped or not. This information will help the doctor adjust treatment. Right from the start of an attack, suggest that your child relax or sleep, eat something if he or she is hungry, and retreat to a quiet, darkened room. If a medication has been prescribed by the doctor, it should be taken immediately, if possible within ten minutes of the onset of the first symptoms. It is important that a child with migraines always carry his medication with him, even at school. If the medication is entrusted to the teacher along with a doctor’s note, the teacher will administer it to the child as soon as an attack becomes apparent.

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