5 flu season guidelines
Feb 2, 2017, 12:00:00 AM CST Jul 30, 2018, 10:52:33 AM CDT

5 flu season guidelines: When to bring your child to the ER

This is the time of year in North Texas when flu season infects adults and children. Oftentimes parents are unsure if they should take children to the emergency room (ER) or their pediatrician.

Young mother checking temperature of sick daughter lying in bed Young mother checking temperature of sick daughter lying in bed

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if your child has the flu, they are contagious as early as one day before symptoms develop – and up to five to seven days after.

Keep these tips in mind when your child is sick or you’re considering a visit to the ER: 

  1. When should I take my newborn to the ER?
    If your infant has symptoms such as constipation, rash or is spitting up, it’s best to see your pediatrician. If an infant is not eating, is listless, has fever or difficulty breathing, or has a color change – go to the ER immediately. 
  2. When should I take my older infant or child to the ER?
    Fever in older children is not an emergency. For children two-months-old or older, a fever by itself is not an indication to take a child to the ER.  Fever is a common symptom during the winter season and usually associated the flu. If your child has a fever and responds to acetaminophen or ibuprofen, that’s an indication the child doesn’t need to go to the ER.
  3. Watch out for these emergency symptoms
    Children of all ages should immediately go to the ER if they have: difficulty breathing, become unresponsive, suffer from excessive vomiting or appear dehydrated with decreased urination, or have dry lips or sunken eyes. Any one of these symptoms warrants a visit to the ER.
  4. Get your family vaccinated
    Parents can help avoid a trip to the ER by ensuring everyone in their family six-months-old or older receives a flu shot.
  5. Keep healthy family members away from the ER
    Parents can help reduce exposure to flu and other illnesses by limiting the number of family members who accompany a sick child to the ER. Healthy children and relatives should remain at home. 

Learn More

See a list of flu symptoms with a quick reference guide of where to seek treatment. View our fight the flu infographic here.

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communicable disease, epidemiology, fever, flu, flu season, infection, infectious diseases, influenza, microbiology, vaccine, virus

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