Worldwide, the annual rate of adults who suffer from flu is estimated at 5%-10%, while the number of children is considerable much higher, at 20%-30%. Of these, the segment of population at highest risk are the elderly, above the age of 65 and children younger than 2 years of age. This is why it is essential to recognize and treat the symptoms early. According to the KSA Ministry of Health, it is vital that everyone gets vaccinated against the flu, given that the vaccine is safe and effective even for pregnant women and those suffering from diabetes, heart diseases and asthma.
Types of Flu
Influenza is an infection caused by a virus. There are three types of viruses that cause influenza: type A, B and C. Of these, the least dangerous are the Type C infections, which only have a minor impact on the respiratory system. Type A and B are responsible for giving 20% of us running noses, coughs and at times, high fever. Type A viruses can infect both humans and animals. In fact, the classification system for the flu virus is based on the parameters of infection.
In case of Type A influenza, the hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N) antigen numbers are mentioned in ‘brackets.’ For example, there was a new strain of Type A flu virus emerged to cause a worldwide epidemic. The rampant spread of this new flu was partly in effect due to the fact that it was a new strain of the human influenza A (H1N1) and is also referred to as the 2009 H1N1 virus.
Spotting & Treating Child Flu in Time
Most common flu infections are seasonal, which means that they are closely linked to weather and seasonal cycles. The period between November and April is when children are most prone to catching the virus. As reported on Arab News on June 28, 2016, during the year 1436-1437H, 295,421 children of the targeted number of 727,576, between the ages of six months to five years, were vaccinated as part of the seasonal flu campaign in Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Health has advised parents to give their children timely vaccinations.
Child flu can spread through direct and indirect contact. Direct contact is when the virus is transmitted from a child who is already infected and physical contact or touching an infected person spreads the virus. Indirect contact arises from touching or using the same items as an infected person.
Typical symptoms of infected children include:
- Muscle or body ache
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden fever
- Cough and sore throat
- Trembling and shaking
The top three signs of a serious infection are trouble in breathing, vomiting and a fever that is constantly above 38.5°C. Other danger signs to watch for are chest pain, reduced water intake, vomiting combined with diarrhea and continued fever for 5 days. To keep the aches and pains under control, children are often advised Ibuprofen by the pediatrician. However, if there are children below the age of 5 or if a member of the household has contracted a severe flu infection, it is important to get yourself and members of the household a flu vaccine. Consult your doctor immediately in case any of the more severe symptoms of child flu are observed.