Influenza (Flu)

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. While the flu typically peaks between the months of December and February, activity in our area begins to rise significantly in October.

Vaccination not only helps prevent the virus, but can also prevent serious complication, which could lead to hospitalization in some patients. Annual vaccination is recommended for all children 6 months or older.

Symptoms of the flu include: high fevers, cough, sore throat, congestion, body aches, fatigue, headaches and occasionally vomiting and diarrhea. If you child is showing any of these symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician so your child can be tested for the flu.

If diagnosed within a certain time frame (typically less than 48 hours from the time symptoms begin), treatment for the flu includes Tamiflu and Xofluza (only recommended for children 5-12 years who do not have any medical conditions, and for all people aged 12 years or older). Otherwise, treatment for the flu is mainly supportive care and the treatment of individual symptoms that each child has.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

RSV is a very common respiratory virus during the winter months. RSV is also the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States.

The most common symptoms of RSV include runny nose, sneezing, coughing, decrease in appetite, fever and wheezing. RSV is notorious for causing very thick nasal secretions; thus, sometimes the only symptoms in very young infants are irritability and breathing difficulties. RSV typically "peaks” between days three and five of the illness and then slowly start to improve.

Call your pediatrician if your child is having difficulty breathing including breathing too fast, moving their chest to breathe or grunting. Additionally, the thick nasal secretions that RSV causes leads to your child having to breathe through their mouth. If your child, especially a younger infant, has to breathe through their mouth, your child may not eat and drink like normal. The main concern then becomes dehydration. One way to help assess your child’s hydration status is urine output. If your child has not had 4-6 diapers in 24 hours call your pediatrician to have them examined.


We are now entering another winter season with COVID-19 and it is important to remain up to date on the CDC guidelines for quarantine and isolation. Much like the influenza vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters help protect against the virus and decrease the serious side effects of the virus, with the goal of keeping children out of the hospital. Currently, the CDC recommends a COVID-19 vaccine for everyone ages 6 months and older. The Bivalent COVID-19 boosters add protection starting for individuals 5+ (Pfizer) and 6+ (Moderna). 

With the different variants that have occurred since 2020, the symptoms of COVID-19 can vary from person to person. The most common symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, congestion, sore throat, body aches, headaches, loss of smell or taste and fatigue.

While most treatment remains supportive, there are some antiviral and monoclonal antibody treatments now available for people 12 years and older.  

Tips for Safely Navigating this Season

  • Get the flu shot and stay current on the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters available. 
    • Current COVID-19 Immunization Schedule for Persons 6 Months of Age and Older, Click here
  • Stay home if you are sick. 
  • Wash your hands and avoid touching your face.
  • Follow CDC guidelines for health and safety.

Call Your Pediatrician

  • If you cannot control a fever with over the counter medication or fevers lasting longer than five days
  • If your child has any signs of trouble breathing
  • If your child has a decrease in urine output
  • If there is anything that arises with your child that is of concern to you

Know Where to Go

For Emergencies, dial 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.