Pediatric Advice

All About the Flu

This year, with COVID-19 also circulating it will be very difficult to distinguish the 2 viruses. It is more important than ever to come get your Flu shot. Read the new process for Flu Clinic to make it safe, efficient , and convenient.

Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu is a seasonal respiratory virus that is unpredictable, but usually peaks each year between November and March. It is spread by contact with respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes. Flu often comes on suddenly and causes a variety of symptoms that can range from mild to severe and can be life threatening and even deadly. It is one of many viruses, such as rhinovirus (the common cold) and RSV that circulate every fall and winter, however it is the only one that can be prevented or minimized with an annual flu shot. Different strains circulate each year and immunity wanes, so an annual vaccine formulated to match the anticipated circulating strains is necessary every year for everyone 6 months and older. It is especially indicated for anyone with an underlying medical condition such as asthma.

Symptoms usually begin 1-4 days after exposure and can last 3-7 days.

  • Abrupt onset of fever and chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Non-productive cough
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (sometimes)
  • Antibiotics will not help because it is a viral infection
  • Drink lots of fluids and rest
  • Use a fever reducer like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) but no aspirin
  • Cough and cold medicines are not helpful or recommended for young children
  • Some children with underlying health issues and risk factors may benefit from a prescription antiviral medication such as Tamiflu

In some children with flu pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections or neurological complications may occur. Typically flu symptoms will last for 3-7 days and will respond somewhat to comfort measures. Be suspicious of a possible complication if symptoms don’t respond, at least for a few hours to comfort measures, if symptoms improve and then recur in full force, or if there are any signs of labored breathing, wheezing, or dehydration. Call us if you are not sure or worried about your child’s symptoms.

Here are some of the symptoms that need medical attention. If you have any concerns you should call us, make an appointment, or call 911 for a true emergency.

  • Severe fatigue or irritability that does not respond to consoling and /or Tylenolsn’
  • Severe headache or confusion that doesn’t go away
  • Chest pain, labored breathing, persistent cough, wheezing
  • Neck stiffness
  • Dehydration (dry mouth, decreased urine output)
  • Weak legs or feet
  • Severe muscle pain and/or red urine

2021 Flu Clinic- Safe, Efficient, Convenient. Adjusted process due to Covid-19 

WHO: Everyone 6mo of age and older, especially anyone with an underlying medical condition such as asthma.

WHEN: Daily BEGINNING Thursday, Sept 9, 2021 – January, at any scheduled office visit, or create a “walk up”  appointment from your car, using the portal, at your convenience M-F between 8:30- 12:00 and 2:00 – 5:00. (parents and siblings can get when here for one child’s appointment). It is recommended, whenever possible, to get immunized by October/November.

HOW: For Flu Clinic – DO NOT make an appointment in ADVANCE. Come to the parking lot, log on to the portal WHEN YOU ARRIVE. You will then create an appointment, use the mobile check in button, complete a short form and THEN PROCEED to the entrance side porch, using the cone walkway. DO NOT ENTER THE BUILDING. A staff member will greet you. Shots will be  done in the well waiting room….in and out very quickly. If there is a line, please wait along the porch, socially distanced, or in your car. Masks must be worn. Families/caretakers welcome. Will bill insurance for patients, $25.00 cash for adults. Be sure you can log into the portal before you come. Call us if you need any assistance.

WHAT: We expect a large supply of flu shots and will get a much smaller supply of Flumist (date TBD)

COVID VACCINES: If you also want a Covid vaccine at the time of the flu shot (still approved for age 12 and up – hopefully ages 5-11 later this fall) you can do both at a regularly scheduled appointment OR you can call to be added to the Covid vaccine schedule. You can also get a flu vaccine at that time. You CANNOT use the above process for Flu vaccine and get a Covid vaccine at that same time – you must call and schedule.

PARENTS: As a convenience we have shots for $25.00 cash (no credit or debit cards) and strongly recommend flu shots for every household member, especially if there is a baby under 6 months (they are too young to be vaccinated, but at high risk for complications if they get the flu.)

WHY: Although the flu shot is not 100% effective it dramatically reduces the risk of catching the flu—which can range from mild symptoms and discomfort to serious and severe illness, even death. The strains in the vaccine are changed every year to try to match what the experts think will be circulating. Everyone needs a flu shot yearly, and those under age 9 getting vaccine for the first time, or who have not had 2 doses in the past, will need two doses 4 weeks apart.