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Flu Bug and Fever Facts

With the flu season upon us, many of our households are overrun by that nasty flu bug that seems to be going around. Suddenly the little one is stricken with a fever. Children's flu is caused by a virus, but it generally starts more suddenly and severely than a cold. While the symptoms are similar, a child with the flu usually has a higher fever and feels much more achy and uncomfortable. The flu can last a week or longer.
Symptoms of the flu can include:

  • Sudden onset of fever (usually above 101 F)
  • Body ache
  • Headache 
  • Runny nose 
  • Extreme tiredness or fatigue 
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • "But when does a fever become a concern?"
            You should always call the doctor when:
  • Fever of 101 degrees F or higher is present in babies younger than three or four months
  • The fever is higher than 104 degrees F and doesn't respond to acetaminophen or ibuprofen and other home treatments within four or five hours
  • If a child younger than three years (but older than three months) has a high fever that lasts for 24 hours
  • The fever is accompanied by any extreme or unusual symptoms, for example: breathing problems, rash, drooling, stiff neck, vomiting, delirium, hallucinations
  • There are signs of dehydration
  • There's a lot of pain, especially in the abdomen
  • The child acts very sick
  • You're unsure about the symptoms and what to do. Maybe something just doesn't seem right, or you need some reassurance. Don't be afraid to call and ask questions, even if you feel silly or embarrassed.

A fever, or higher-than-normal temperature, is not an illness itself. Usually, a fever indicates that your child's immune system is fighting an infection or virus. For a child, any temperature above 100.4 F is generally considered to be a fever. The normal average is 98.6 F, but temperatures can change slightly throughout the day and night. They are usually lower in the morning, and higher in the afternoon and evening. The more physically active your child is, the higher his or her body temperature is likely to be.

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