- Exposure (Close Contact) to a person with influenza
- Questions about influenza
- Your child has no symptoms of influenza (no fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose)
- For children with symptoms of influenza, see the Influenza care guide.
Flu Exposure (Close Contact) Definition
- Household Close Contact. Lives with a person with flu.
- Other Close Contact. The CDC defines 6 feet as how far coughing can spread the flu virus. How long the close contact lasts is also important. Close contact includes kissing, hugging or sharing eating and drinking utensils. It also includes close conversations. Direct contact with secretions of a person with flu is also close contact. Includes being in the same child care center room or carpool.
- In Same Building - Not Close Contact. Walking by a person or sitting in a room briefly is not close contact. Being in the same school, church, workplace or building also is not close contact.
- In Same Town - Not Close Contact. Living in a town where there are people with the flu is not close contact. Living in the same state or country (such as Mexico) carries no added risk.
High-Risk Children for Complications from Influenza (AAP)
Children are considered High-Risk for complications if they have any of the following:
- Lung disease (such as asthma)
- Heart disease (such as a congenital heart disease)
- Cancer or weak immune system conditions
- Neuromuscular disease (such as muscular dystrophy)
- Diabetes, sickle cell disease, kidney disease or liver disease
- Down syndrome
- Diseases requiring long-term aspirin therapy
- Pregnancy or severe obesity
- All healthy children under 2 years old are also considered High-Risk (CDC 2009)
- Note: all other children are referred to as Low-Risk
Prescription Antiviral Drugs for Influenza
- Antiviral drugs (such as Tamiflu) are sometimes used to treat influenza. They must be started within 48 hours of when flu symptoms start.
- The AAP recommends they be used for any patient with severe symptoms.
- The AAP also recommends the drugs for most High-Risk children. A list of High-Risk problems is also on the CDC website.
- The AAP doesn't recommend antiviral drugs for Low-Risk children with mild flu symptoms.
- Their benefits are limited. They usually reduce the time your child is sick by 1 to 1.5 days. They reduce the symptoms, but do not make them go away.
- Side effects: vomiting in 10% of children.