RVA Parenting: Late flu season picking up steam

RVA Parenting: Late flu season picking up steam

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Flu season is finally arriving in Virginia and with students back from winter break the flu has the potential spread very quickly.

Experts at KidMed are warning parents to be on the lookout for flu symptoms.

"This year, we are just starting to see a smattering of flu," explained Dr. Jeff Bennett. "But now, the kids are back in school, so they are going to infect each other. So, we are going to see a lot of flu probably until late January, maybe early February."

A child with the flu will likely have watery eyes, a runny nose, a cough, a fever, and chills or body aches. There are benefits to recognizing flu early. Doctors say if your flu is identified in the first two days, you may be able to take Tamiflu, which can often minimize your symptoms.

"It won't cure it, but it may make your child more comfortable in addition to taking anti-fever medication like Tylenol and Ibuprofin," explained Bennett. He also warns parents that a child with a high fever for several days may be more reason for concern. "In my 24 years in the pediatric ER, I've never seen as many pneumonia cases. So, if the child has a long fever, more than three days, even if they test positive for the flu, you have to be watching for secondary bacterial pneumonia."

Dr. Bennett adds there may still be some benefit in getting the flu shot, but you really need to get it right away. In a few weeks, there's a good chance you won't see any benefits.

Copyright 2016 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.