Real Life | Swine Flu: What you need to know

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In the wake of a five year old child sadly passing away this week from swine flu, parents are being urged to be more aware of flu signs in children.

The huge danger associated with contracting swine flu was realised once again this week following the sad passing of a five year old child from the infection.

While the hype and caution regarding the flu has diminished since the outbreak in 2010 and 2011, it is only this week that many of us learned that swine flu is now a ‘seasonal’ virus that circulates worldwide. Indeed, the H1N1 strain has been included in the seasonal flu vaccine in Ireland since that outbreak six years ago.

While the HSE provides the flu and pneumococcal vaccine free of charge for at-risk groups, parents are also being urged to be more vigilant and cautious when it comes to children and flu signs.

In the first one to three days, your child normally develops symptoms like sore throat, fever and muscle ache quickly. Ensure your child drinks plenty of fluids to replace those lost from sweating, while they also need plenty of rest and to eat healthily. Children with underlying health conditions should see a doctor even at this early stage.

The flu peaks between day three to five, during which time your child’s symptoms are at their worst. Drinking plenty of fluids and eating well is essential.

Between day five and eight, your child should start to feel much better although a cough and general tiredness may last for up to three weeks. At this stage, your child should be able to return to normal activities and feel better.

If your child’s symptoms are worse than the above or if they are not recovering as per the timeline suggested, seek medical advice.