It's no secret that the flu has been particularly awful this year. Children are especially vulnerable to getting sick (schools are actually shutting down to try to combat the outbreak), and when they do come down with something awful, it's heartbreaking as a parent to watch them suffer. If your child does get sick, you might feel relieved to think they could soon be out of the woods, but unfortunately, the flu can strike more than once in the same season, warned Dr. Ian Tong, chief medical officer at Doctor on Demand. "A child could be infected by both influenza A and influenza B in the same year."
So what can you do to try to navigate around this? Once your child's doctor confirms the flu, take note of which type they have. "Influenza A subtype, or influenza A, is the more dangerous subtype of the flu," Dr. Tong said. "This year it is the severity of the H3N2 strain of the influenza A subtype that is requiring so many people to be hospitalized. Ironically, patients infected with influenza B may experience a longer duration of symptoms than those infected with influenza A, but those with influenza A are likely to see more severe symptoms, but of shorter duration."
Dealing with the flu for a second time is no different, or more dangerous, than the first. Washing your hands frequently, getting plenty of rest, and drinking liquids are all ways to combat the flu. Dr. Tong urges patients to also take preventative measures to ensure that others don't get sick. "Wash your hands, cover your mouth or your child's mouth when he or she coughs, and isolate that person from other family members if possible, especially those who have weaker immune systems," he advised.
Additionally, Dr. Tong urged people to speak to a doctor as soon as symptoms arise, saying, "The treatment window for the flu is usually within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, and the only proven treatment that helps requires a doctor's prescription — so it's important to act fast."