In general, the flu is not a serious illness. Children have a fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, and / or diarrhea. They spend a regular week, but in the end they heal without problems. However, on occasion, the flu can get complicated, especially in younger children, and in those with chronic underlying diseases, such as asthma or immunodeficiencies.
With the flu, the fever usually lasts less than a week, while other symptoms such as cough or runny nose can last up to two weeks. Therefore, it is common for parents to consult their pediatrician or the hospital emergency services on one or more occasions.
Actually, these visits are not usually necessary, and cause collapses in health systems, although it is understandable that families get scared and look for solutions (although treatment as such does not exist). What we must and can do is monitor at home a series of signs and symptoms that should alarm us and, if they appear, go to the pediatrician. These signs and symptoms are as follows:
1. Fever of more than 5-7 days of evolution
In these cases, it is convenient to explore the child and assess the performance of some tests to rule out superinfection by bacteria. Fever is nothing more than a defense mechanism of our body, it is not a sign of severity. The general condition of the child must always be assessed.
If he is happy with a fever, there is no cause for alarm (even if the fever is high). If with a fever he is sad, dull, wrinkled in a blanket, it is expected and normal (it also happens to adults). If when he is without fever (or it is going down) he is happy, running, playing, citing the great classic of parents: 'Doctor, you will not believe it. At home he was terrible but here he is so happy, it seems that he is not bad ', then there is no cause for concern. Only in the case that it is down, even in periods without fever, is when it would be convenient to go to the pediatrician.
2. Breathing difficulty
It is important to note that the difficulty in breathing is not that the child has a stuffy nose and makes noises when breathing through the nose. This is annoying and makes children uncomfortable, but it is normal, as with any cold.
What we must watch out for is that the child does not use accessory muscles to be able to breathe: that is, his ribs sink or become marked or his stomach moves a lot when breathing. These movements indicate that your body needs an extra effort to be able to maintain good ventilation, and this may suggest some type of complication, which should be evaluated by a pediatrician.
In general, when a child has difficulty breathing, it does not raise doubts in the parents. If there are doubts, it is that the child probably does not have a problem.
The signs that show good hydration, and should reassure us, are those that indicate that 'the body has enough fluid to waste it in areas where its presence is not vital'. That is to say, a well-hydrated child is one who has saliva in the mouth, who drools, who cries with tears, who urinates in a normal quantity and who has elastic and turgid skin that, when released, quickly returns to its place (it does not remain wrinkled after a pinch, as occurs for example in the elderly).
Therefore, it is convenient to go to the pediatrician in case our child's mouth is dry (as if he had taken three polvorones in a row), that he cries without releasing a tear, whose skin begins to get wrinkled or that he has been wearing more than 8 -12 hours without urinating.
These types of guides are only intended to inform and reassure parents, as well as seek their involvement in the health of their children. Of course, if you have doubts, fears or are concerned, the best thing to do is visit your pediatrician, who is what they are for.
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