Being familiar with the symptoms of swine flu in children can help parents distinguish between the common cold and the more severe flu. Many of the symptoms are the same, and include chills, a dry cough, and a sore throat. There are additional symptoms that are indicative of swine flu, however, and these include a high-grade fever up to 104°F (40°C), chills, muscle aches, and in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.
Symptoms of swine flu in children are very similar to those that manifest themselves in adults. Signs of sickness often begin with a fever, which is considered significant if the individual's temperature is over 100°F (37.8°C). Feeling warm to the touch, sweating, or a flushed appearance can be warning signs of a severe fever. The most severe symptoms, including headaches, chills, fever, and vomiting usually last between three and four days. Muscle aches, body aches, a dry cough, sore throat and a general, tired feeling can last for as long as two weeks after symptoms first appear.
Highly contagious, the swine flu can be spread from a day before symptoms appear and linger up to seven days after they disappear. Taking a child out of school or keeping him home from daycare at the first signs of symptoms can help prevent the spread of the swine flu. Preventative measures taken by those in the home don't hurt, either, as the swine flu can easily spread between those in close contact with each other. Prescription antiviral drugs are most effective when given within 48 hours of symptoms of swine flu in children appearing, so vigilance is key.
Among those most vulnerable to serious complications from the swine flu are young children. Those under the age of five have been shown to often have no natural antibodies to fight the flu virus, making them particularly vulnerable when not vaccinated. While many people recover from the swine flu without needing special medical treatment, there have been cases where young children require hospitalization to recover; there have also been deaths from infections related to the virus. For the parents of children too young to communicate their symptoms, being able to recognize symptoms of swine flu in children can be vitally important.
The swine flu, also known as the H1N1 flu, reached global pandemic proportions in 2009. Though the first pandemic lasted only a season, the swine flu continues to spread through the human population in testament to the ability of viruses to mutate in one species and spread to another. The most up-to-date influenza information and updates on new symptoms of swine flu in children can be found at hospital and government websites, such as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.