Important Flu Season Reminders
The 2019-2020 flu season is seeing higher flu numbers than the last few years. It’s important for parents and caregivers to stay informed about how to prevent the spread of flu and when to seek appropriate medical care.
How you can prevent getting the flu
- Get the flu vaccine (no, it’s not too late). People who are vaccinated are less likely to get the flu and are more likely to have a milder course of illness if they do get sick. Contact your primary care doctor or your local pharmacy to ask about getting the flu vaccine.
- Wash your hands and your children’s hands. Handwashing is the best defense against germs! Get tips about the best way to wash hands.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Don’t share drinks or utensils.
- Keep sick children away from siblings as much as possible.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
When to go to the doctor for the flu
In most cases, the flu does not require a visit to the doctor or treatment with antivirals.
If you suspect the flu, keep your child at home and treat their symptoms. It is very important to stay home, avoiding contact with other people, until fever has resolved for at least 24 hours. Read: Tips for managing fever in kids and when to call the doctor.
Staying home isn’t only the right thing to do for recovery, but important to help stop the spread of illness in your community.
So when is it time to go to the doctor? The scenario of what you should do changes if your child falls into a high-risk category. Read: What puts someone into a high-risk category and when to seek medical care for the flu.
CORONAVIRUS UPDATES: If you or your child develops a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, contact your medical provider immediately. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your/your child's symptoms. They will coordinate safe treatment and testing and get you the care you need. If you feel sick, avoid contact with others and wash hands often with soap and water. Learn more: Frequently asked questions about COVID-19.
Should I go to the ER if I think I have the flu? Where to seek flu care
If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician’s office. That is your best resource, unless your child exhibits severe symptoms that warrant a trip to the emergency room.
- If your child has a fever above 102 for two days, is not drinking well or vomits several times, or is extremely sleepy, call your pediatrician. You also have the option to visit a CHOP urgent care location. Understand the difference between the ER and urgent care.
- If your child has flu symptoms and is breathing hard or fast, shows signs of dehydration such as not making urine or dry mouth and lips, or has a serious chronic medical problem, go to the nearest emergency room.