Welcome to the nurse’s page!

As many parents know first-hand, this time of year is cold and flu season for children. With colds, stomach flu and influenza, children are exposed to a variety of illnesses. Blank Children’s Hospital suggests being aware of the symptoms of the flu to better protect your children.

  • Influenza, commonly known as “the flu,” is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract. Although the flu affects both sexes and all age groups, children tend to get it more often than adults. The illness even has its own season — from November to April, with most cases occurring between late December and early March.
  • The flu shot protects against influenza; however, it does not provide protection against a common cold or stomach flu.
  • Because children so easily get influenza, it can be very dangerous, and even deadly. That is why we encourage parents to have their children vaccinated each year.

What are the signs and symptoms of influenza?

  • Influenza is often confused with the common cold, but flu symptoms tend to develop quickly (usually 1 to 4 days after a person is exposed to the flu virus) and are usually more severe than the typical sneezing and stuffiness of a cold.

Symptoms of the flu may include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • dizziness
  • loss of appetite
  • tiredness
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • nausea or vomiting
  • weakness
  • ear infection
  • diarrhea
  • cough

What are the differences between colds and the flu?

  • Key differences between a common cold and the flu are high fever, severe exhaustion, dry cough, headache, decreased appetite, achy muscles and chills.

When should my child be seen by a healthcare provider?

  • When your child’s symptoms are consistent with the flu symptoms, they need to see their healthcare provider.

What can parents do to help reduce their children’s risk?

  • Have your children get the flu shot or flu mist each year.
  • Practice regular hand-washing, especially before meals and after blowing noses.
  • Cover mouth when coughing and sneezing.
  • Limit children’s exposure to illness by keeping them away from others who are sick.

Have a healthy and happy day!

Kayla Pettigrew BSN, RN