13.05 Influenza – Flu

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Study Tools

Influenza Symptoms (Image)
Influenza Sneeze Droplet (Image)
Steps for Vaccine Administration (Cheat Sheet)
Influenza Pathochart (Cheat Sheet)
Flu Symptoms (Mnemonic)

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Hey guys, in this lesson we are going to talk about Influenza or the flu.
Obviously the flu can happen to anyone at any age, so I know you’ve probably already covered this topic in your med-surg course. For our pediatric patients, it is still a super contagious viral infection that affects the respiratory system. It is spread via droplet and there are 3 different types of influenza, A, B and C. Type A & B are the ones that cause more severe cases and are very infectious. Type C is less severe and less contagious.

Kids, especially school-age, are a really big part of spreading influenza in the community so it’s really important that we teach kids about the importance of handwashing to try and stop this!

It is preventable with a yearly vaccine as well. This can be given as an intramuscular injection, which is not a live vaccine, or it can be given as a nasal spray, which is a live vaccine. The nasal spray is great because it prevents having to stick the kid with a needle, but it can’t be used on kids less than 2 years of age and there are a lot of contraindications for live immunizations. A major contraindication to know about is that kids who have asthma can’t have the nasal spray live virus. For other contraindications check out the med-surg lesson on influenza.

Flu symptoms usually come on really quickly and last 4-5 days. This photo shows all the symptoms that can occur with the flu. So, fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, lots of aches and pains, headaches, vomiting.

The major problems we see with influenza are respiratory distress and dehydration.

These patients need to be on droplet precautions and remember nurses who are pregnant should not be caring for a kid with influenza or any of the highly infectious diseases covered in this module!

Medical care is mostly supportive- so fluids, rest and fever management. Medications that can be given for the flu are antivirals. The most common is Tamiflu. Tamiflu can be used in kids who are older than 1 year of age.

Hopefully the virus will just run its course and the child will be fine, but a few complications to be on the look out for are pneumonia, encephalitis, otitis media and dehydration.

Your priority nursing concepts for a pediatric patient with influenza are immunity, infection control and oxygenation.
Okay, let’s go over the key points for influenza! It is a viral infection. There are 3 types, A,B, and C. A and B are very contagious and tend to be more severe. Your assessment is pretty non-specific but you should expect to see fever, malaise, aches, sore throat, cough and vomiting.

Treatment is focused on encouraging rest and fluids and managing the fever. Tamiflu is an antiviral that can be given to kids older than 1 year to minimize symptoms.

Yearly vaccines can be given to prevent the flu! Either IM or nasal spray immunizations are available.

That's it for our lesson on Influenza. Make sure you check out all the resources attached to this lesson. Now, go out and be your best self today. Happy Nursing!
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