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(Last updated: 13 Jun)

Influenza (Flu)

Influenza (flu) is a respiratory virus that is highly contagious and occurs all year round in Singapore, with an increased incidence between May to July and between December to February. Young children, those with underlying heart, lung, or neurological problems, and those with weak immune systems are at risk of getting more severe diseases that can even lead to death.
about influenza flu kids

Cause and spread

Influenza is caused by mainly Influenza Type A and Type B viruses which are airborne viruses and are spread to others through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Signs and symptoms

Children with Influenza can have 1 or more of the following symptoms:

  • High fever that can last for 3 to 7 days
  • Headache
  • Runny nose and cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body ache
  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting

Treatment

Treatment of Influenza is mainly symptomatic, controlling fever and symptoms of sore throat, runny nose, and cough.

You will need to ensure that your child has adequate hydration by encouraging the drinking of fluids and ensuring adequate rest. Tamiflu may be offered by the paediatrician if the diagnosis is made early in the disease.

Seek emergency care if the child develops the following symptoms:

  • Breathlessness
  • Difficulty to drink
  • Severe diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain or discomfort

Prevention

Flu vaccines can be taken from 6 months of age onwards. Vaccines against new circulating Influenza virus strains are produced twice a year, in March and September. It is advisable to talk to your health care provider about receiving these vaccines which confer protection 2 weeks after administration. Do take note that the Influenza vaccine does not protect the child from other respiratory viruses that cause fever with cough and runny nose.

Influenza is a common respiratory infection that can be contracted all year long. All though in most cases it causes high fever with runny nose and cough that recovers spontaneously within a week, in some kids, it can be potentially life-threatening. Thus, taking appropriate measures to prevent Influenza infection and proper management if infected with the virus is advocated.

About Author
This article is written by Dr Wendy Sinnathamby, a General Paediatrician with more than 20 years of experience. Dr Wendy completed her Paediatric specialist training in the UK and is experienced in newborn screening, growth and development screening, emergency paediatrics, vaccination, travel advice and adolescent medicine.
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Incorporated in 2005, Singapore Medical Group (SMG) is a healthcare organisation with a network of private specialist providers across four established pillars - Aesthetics, Diagnostic Imaging & Screening, Oncology and Women's & Children's Health. Within Singapore, SMG has more than 40 clinics strategically located in central Singapore and heartland estates. Beyond Singapore, SMG also has an established presence in Indonesia, Vietnam and Australia. Learn about our privacy policy here.

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