Tuesday, September 29, 2009

TMI Tuesday: Fly Away Flu

I've wanted to give some health advice on this blog. I think that a large part of our nation's health care issues center on the fact that doctors want to be all-knowing, and they don't properly educate people -- so they end-up clogging up ER's and doctors offices with things that really don't need to be seen. Especially in children. It's driving me nuts that hospitals are having to set-up extra ER stations so that they can see all the people with swine flu.
IT IS THE FLU people. Oink yourself back to bed.

Today, I'd like to focus on flu symptoms and when it's time to take issue, and when it's time to take a nap:

1. Kids get high fevers. That's how their body fights infection. When I worked for pediatricians (I did phone triage for pediatricians in nursing school when I had my LPN) they wouldn't worry til' it got over 107. Frankly, anything over 105 even scares me. However, up until that point, even though their bodies seem to be on fire, they're fine. That's the war being waged on the germs.
  • Give them Tylenol or Advil, if appropriate (hopefully your doctor has reviewed with you any anti-fever medications you can give your child, along with the proper dose, at your well-checks).
  • You can also give them a lukewarm bath, pouring the water over them (don't make the bath too cold -- just a little cooler than you'd normally make it) if they seem uncomfortable with the heat. Do bundle them into jammies after it though, you don't want to drop their temperature.
  • You do want to make sure the fever does respond to the medicine. Take the temperature, give the medicine and then take the temperature 30-60 minutes later. If it hasn't gone down you might want to call your doctor.
  • Adult's fevers, FYI shouldn't be near as high. If you take your temp and it's over 103 or so, I'd call your doctor.

2. Lethargy is normal with illness, up to a point. They should be taking extra naps, they can be less willing to reek havoc on your home (my favorite part of illness). That's all fine. It's when they're unwilling to take a drink, or get up to use the restroom -- things like that. That's actual lethargy that needs to be monitored. This is something to watch with all illnesses. When kids can't get-up to play at all... it's time to worry.

3. The flu involves aches, temperature, coughing, headaches and diarrhea. Simple runny noses aren't a classic sign (although, it's possible for them to have a cold on top of the flu). They are saying that 96% of cases with flu symptoms are most likely the swine flu -- but it's still just the flu. Deaths in these cases are extremely rare.

4. The key is hydration. Find a drink your child will drink, and give it to them -- offer it often. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. It really helps fight the nasties....

5. By taking your child to the emergency room you incur a lot of costs:
  • Monetary -- the ER is just for emergencies. If you just suspect they have the flu, it's not the place for you -- extreme lethargy, high-high fevers, it's something you might consider, but only if your regular doctor won't see you. It will cost your insurance a lot, and you, as well. Unless you have medical -- and then it's costing me. :)
  • Health-wise -- your child is exposed to others with flu-like-symptoms and they are exposed to them. One of the most important things about being sick is staying at home.
  • You -- you are now exposed to all those people -- and what will happen when mom's sick? I think we all know -- pure hell. :)

Anyway, those are just some thoughts running through my head this AM. I'd like to know what else you want to know about. I really am a fountain of health information for the littles, pregnancy and even a few other things. Some other thoughts I had were: broken bones, female exams and when they're necessary, trimesters in pregnancy...

Hilary is an RN, BSN who has worked in various medical fields for the past 12 years, however, none of the information on this blog, should be substituted for the care of a physician. The information provided on this blog is informational only and shouldn't be taken as medical advice. You have instinct, use it -- and use it wisely. If you have questions, please ask your doctor. If you think you have a medical or psychiatric emergency, please call 911. Also, please don't delay contacting a physician due to something you have read on here. Pulling Curls doesn't take responsibility for your health. That's your job. We're just a nice read.


  1. Thanks Hilary, I really appreciate this today. We haven't really gone through a big sickness in our house (or even a sever little one) (KNOCK ON WOOD!!) and while I know I can handle it, it still intimidates me. So this information is really good to have, because I really doubt we'll make it through this flu season untouched.

  2. Gracias.

    The Swine Flu hype is really scaring a lot of people. Darn media.

  3. Finally, a voice of reason.

  4. I've worked Peds for almost 23 years...this is GREAT!

    anything over 105 scares me too.

    I would add: if you have a newborn-2yr old kid, stay home from church during the cold and flu season.

    And you did phone triage? Dude...

    (found you via Azucar)


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