Swine Flu and Kids: Heed warning signs, MDs say

Doctors are urging parents to be on the lookout for warning signs that a case of swine flu has become life-threatening.

Swine flu has probably infected hundreds of thousands of youngsters nationwide. Deaths among children are rare, but at least 76 American children have died since April. Last week alone, there were 19 new reports of children who died.

Many experts say the H1N1 virus does not appear to be more dangerous than other flu strains, but kids have been catching it more easily than seasonal flu.

Authorities urge parents to seek immediate help if emergency warning signs develop. In children, these are:

-- Fast or troubled breathing.
-- Bluish skin color.
-- Lack of thirst.
-- Failure to wake up easily or interact.
-- Irritability so that the child does not want to be held.
-- Improvement of symptoms, then a return to fever and worse cough.
-- Fever with a rash.
Parents should also seek medical help if flu symptoms develop in children most vulnerable to flu complications: those younger than 5 or with high-risk conditions, including asthma and other lung problems; cerebral palsy, epilepsy and other neurological diseases; heart, kidney or liver problems; and diabetes.


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