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What Parents Need to Know about Influenza

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Contact: Brooke Wittrock
Manager, Marketing and Communications

October 16, 2013
Immediate Release

What Parents Need to Know about Influenza

Influenza, also known as the flu, is one of the most severe illnesses of the winter season. A viral infection of the respiratory tract, including the nose, throat, trachea, and bronchi, influenza affects nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population each year.

Influenza is most contagious during the first 24 to 36 hours of contracting the virus.

"Kids are at higher risk to have complications like becoming dehydrated and getting secondary infections like pneumonia, so anything we can do to prevent that, we want to do," said Heather Zimmerman, M.D., Pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics.

Symptoms of Influenza

Symptoms of the flu vary from child to child and may include fever, body aches, lack of energy, dizziness, and vomiting. As the flu progresses, respiratory symptoms such as a dry hacking cough, sore throat, headache, nasal discharge and sneezing, begin to increase. These symptoms will usually go away within four to seven days, while the cough and tiredness can last for weeks longer.

Treating Influenza Symptoms

Boys Town Pediatrics suggests these home care remedies:

  • For fever or aches, give acetaminophen every six hours or ibuprofen every 8 hours.
  • For cough, give cough drops or cough syrup to children over 4 years of age and 1/2 teaspoon of honey for children over 1 year.
  • For sore throat, give hard candy to children over 4 years and warm chicken broth to children over 1 year.
  • For stuffy nose, use warm-water or saline nose drops and suction at least four times a day.

Boys Town Pediatrics is currently scheduling Influenza vaccinations for both the flu shot and FluMist for current pediatric patients.


For more additional information and videos on preventing and treating influenza, visit What Parents Need to Know About Influenza at