Influenza in children is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Presenting symptoms of influenza vary greatly among children; clinical presentation should be assessed for severity of illness and potential complications. Available clinical and laboratory findings should be used to guide treatment for young children with fever. Clinicians should be aware of up-to-date recommendations to diagnose and treat children with influenza and to ensure public health engagement to prevent and manage influenza outbreaks and epidemics.
Our recent issue Pediatric Influenza in the Emergency Department: Diagnosis and Management reviews common complications of influenza infection, offers guidance for infection control measures, and provides evidence-based recommendations for the management of pediatric patients with influenza in the emergency department.
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Here are a few key points:
- Influenza A is the most common form of the virus affecting children. It is the primary cause of seasonal epidemics and results in the majority of hospitalizations.
- Influenza B infection occurs less frequently but causes epidemics and complications including acute renal failure, rhabdomyolysis, myocarditis, pericarditis, and cardiomyopathy.
- Influenza complications include acute otitis media, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, myocarditis, encephalitis, myositis, and sepsis.
- Most patients no longer have detectable influenza virus when complications develop.
Last Updated on January 26, 2023