ibnlive » Health

Nov 19, 2011 at 08:29pm IST

The flu season: kids and elderly at risk

New Delhi: The flu season generally spans from November to March. The symptoms are more severe than those of a cold and tend to come on abruptly. As a parent, at least some of these will be more than familiar -- a sudden fever, chills and shakes with the fever.

But what you might not know is that complications of the flu may include a sinus infection or pneumonia. You need to call your pediatrician if the fever last more than three to four days, or if your child complains of trouble breathing, ear pain, congestion in the face or head, or a persistent cough.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting an annual flu shot for all children aged 6 to 23 months. Children getting a flu shot for the first time need two doses given a month apart. There's also a nasal flu vaccine. But that maybe used for healthy children aged 5 or older only. The best time to get vaccinated is October or November and the protection generally lasts for an year.

Remember that antibiotics are ineffective against the flu. Do not give aspirin to children with flu-like symptoms or fever as it may may increase risk of Reye's syndrome, that can cause severe liver and brain damage. And you must consult your doctor before medicating your child with OTC medicines.