Fort Worth, Texas,
11:10 AM

Panicked About the Flu? 4 Things Parents Should Know.

Here's what Doc Smitty has been telling his parents

Are you panicked about the flu? How do you know if your kid is getting worse? What about all these kids getting really sick, even dying?

Here's what I've been saying all day, every day in my office this week.

1. Healthy kids who get sick from the flu get really bad because they get dehydrated. Push fluids. If they don't want to eat, that's OK. But they have to drink. Monitor urine output. Kids should pee about every 6 hours. If they aren't, they need to be checked out.

2. Healthy kids also get sick from the flu because of respiratory complications. Monitor for signs of difficulty breathing, especially fast breathing or signs that they are working hard to breathe. Look under their ribs, is it sucking in and out heavily? If so, they need to be checked out.

3. Look out for kids whose fever gets better and then comes back. Many times parents write off those symptoms as just a little left over from the flu but they could be a sign of a secondary infection. Ear infections, sinus infections and pneumonia often frequently follow the flu. Once the flu is over and the kid is getting back to normal, they shouldn't come back.

4. Kids with chronic medical conditions should be watched closely for worsening of their condition. Asthmatics should be watched closely for breathing. Diabetics should have their sugars watched, etc.

Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.

Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club  and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.

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