People build immunity to influenza viruses over time and exposure to the different strains. Therefore children are at more risk of getting the flu and suffering the illness more intensely because they will not have encountered the virus before. A child with the flu can have a weakened immune response and be susceptible to other life-threatening illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchitis or even milder complications sinus or ear infections.
Dehydration is a major concern when it comes to children, especially if there is vomiting or diarrhea, or if the child is not drinking fluids.
Children should be seen by a doctor or taken to an emergency room if any of the following occur:
- In infants, the soft spot on top of the head is sunken
- Diarrhea or vomiting in a child under 2 months
- Bluish skin color, especially lips or fingertips
- The child seems less active and responsive than normal
- The child is very irritable and does not want to be held
- Fewer tears or no tears when crying
- Inside of mouth is dry
- Eyes appear dry
- Blood in the stool or vomit
- Fever lasting over 12 hours
The flu acts very fast, so it is better to consult a doctor than wait too long. Also go to a doctor or emergency room if symptoms were getting milder but come back accompanied by bad cough and fever.