The flu season this year has been particularly brutal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting widespread influenza activity in all states except Hawaii (because Hawaii is perfection) and in their weekly flu report released last week, they warn that we are going to be dealing with this for “many more weeks.”
You don’t have to tell me, CDC. I feel like we’ve been passing germs around in our household for the past several weeks, moving from one viral nightmare to the next, like a horrific game of ping pong.
But this year, a new symptom seems to be on the rise, and one nurse’s viral Facebook post is warning others to watch for something different when your child is sick — hives.
Brodi Willard is a registered nurse and mom of two. She writes that one day, her son Seb came home from school with hives. “Every time he would scratch, more would appear,” she explained. “We tried changing his clothes and giving him a bath, but nothing helped.”
According to Willard, when she called her pediatrician to report the symptoms, they informed her that two other children that came into the office that day with the same symptoms had tested positive for influenza.
“I took him to the doctor this morning, and he tested POSITIVE for INFLUENZA B,” she wrote.
What was really unusual was that her son had no other flu-like symptoms whatsoever. “He has had NO symptoms. No fever, no cough, and no runny nose. He only has hives,” Willard noted.
The instant I saw the photo of Willard’s son, I was reminded of the hives my son had only a few weeks ago. He was experiencing mild cold symptoms at the time with the hives appearing in the evenings. I thought they were from laundry soap or some other allergen, so we treated them with Benadryl. Now, I realize he was probably suffering from the hives that can be a body’s reaction to a virus.
Viral infections cause more than 80 percent of all cases of acute hives in children — I had no idea!
According to the CDC, there are four strains of the influenza virus: A, B, C, and D. Influenza A and B viruses cause seasonal epidemics of disease almost every winter in the United States. Type C infections generally cause a mild respiratory illness and are not thought to cause epidemics.
Willard tells Babble that Seb was prescribed a 5-day regimen of Tamiflu and was given Benadryl for the itching. “We started the Tamiflu on a Friday night and by Sunday afternoon, the hives were gone,” she says. She reiterates that Seb never showed any other signs of the flu, saying, “He never seemed sick throughout the whole ordeal. He continues to play just as he always has.”
Willard is glad she shared this discovery with parents:
“When I posted it to Facebook, I wanted parents to be aware that having influenza does not mean only having flu-like symptoms. A person’s body can react to the virus in strange ways. Every parent needs to vigilant in watching for symptoms. The flu is not something to mess around with or take lightly.”
Willard’s story serves as an important reminder to parents as this year’s flu season has already claimed the lives of 30 children. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to rush your child to the ER the minute you notice the appearance of hives, reporting the symptoms to your doctor is an important step to take.