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Learn More About Ear, Nose & Throat Conditions
Otolaryngologists, also called ear, nose and throat or ENT specialists, treat diseases and injuries affecting the ear, nose and throat, as well as the head and neck.
Whether you're battling a balance disorder, having trouble hearing or simply sick of seasonal allergies, the ENT specialists on the medical staff at Baylor can help you or your family with treatment for many conditions.
Call 1.800.4BAYLOR for a referral to a physician on the medical staff at one of our hospitals.
Get the information you need about the H1N1 virus.
Influenza (flu) is a very contagious viral infection that affects
the air passages of the lungs. It causes a high fever, body aches, a cough, and other
symptoms. It is one of the most severe and common viral illnesses of the winter season.
Most children are ill with the flu for less than a week. But some children have a more
serious illness and may need to be treated in the hospital. The flu may also lead to
lung infection (pneumonia) or death.
The flu is caused by flu viruses. Flu viruses are divided into 3 types:
Influenza types A and B. These 2 types of viruses cause widespread illness (epidemics) almost every winter. They often lead to more people needing to go to the hospital, and more people dying from the flu. Public health officials focus on stopping the spread of types A and B. One of the reasons the flu remains a problem is because the viruses change (mutate) often. This means that people are exposed to new types of the viruses each year.
Influenza type C. This type of virus
causes a very mild respiratory illness. . It uncommonly causes epidemics. It does not
have the severe public health impact that influenza types A and B do.
A flu virus is often passed from
child to child through sneezing or coughing. The virus can also live for a short time
on surfaces. This includes doorknobs, toys, pens or pencils, keyboards, phones and
tablets, and countertops. It can also be passed through shared eating utensils and
drinking. Your child can get a flu virus by touching something that was touched by an
infected person, and then touching his or her mouth, nose, or eyes.
People are most contagious with the flu 24 hours before symptoms start, continuing while symptoms are most active. The risk of infecting others usually stops around day 7 of the illness. Because the flu can be spread before symptoms start, it’s easy to pick up a flu virus. This is true especially with children, who often touch many surfaces and then their mouth, nose, or eyes.
A child is more at risk for the flu if he or she:
Is around people infected with the flu
Has not had the flu vaccine
Does not wash his or her hands after touching infected surfaces
Young children and children with certain underlying health conditions are at increased risk for a hospital stay or severe or complicated influenza infection.
The flu is a respiratory disease, but it can affect the whole body. A child can become suddenly ill with any or all of these symptoms:
Fever, which may be as high as 103°F (39.4°C) to 105°F (40.5°C)
Body aches, which may be severe
Cough that gets worse
Runny or stuffy nose
In some cases, your child may also have symptoms such as:
Most children recover from the flu within a week. But they may still feel very tired for as long as 3 to 4 weeks.
It’s important to note that a cold and the flu have different symptoms:
Low or no fever
Sometimes a headache
Headache in most cases
Stuffy, runny nose
Clear nose, or stuffy nose in some cases
Sneezing in some cases
Mild, hacking cough
Cough, often turning severe
Mild body aches
Severe body aches
Extreme tiredness that can last weeks
Sore throat in some cases
A cold is usually mild and often goes away after a few days. The flu can cause severe symptoms and lead to problems such as pneumonia and even death. The symptoms of the flu can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. The symptoms are often enough to diagnose the flu. Your child’s provider may do other tests, depending on your child’s symptoms and overall health.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. The goal of treatment is to help prevent or ease symptoms.
Treatment may include medicines
Acetaminophen. This is to help lessen
body aches and fever. Don't give aspirin to a child with a fever.
Antiviral medicine. This may help to
ease symptoms, and shorten the length of illness. This medicine does not cure the
flu. The medicine must be started within 2 days after symptoms begin.
Antibiotics aren’t effective
against viral infections, so they are not prescribed. They may be used, though, if your
child has developed bacterial pneumonia. Otherwise, treatment focuses on helping ease
your child’s symptoms until the illness passes.
Talk with your healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all medicines.
Also make sure your child:
Gets lots of rest in bed
Drinks plenty of fluids
The flu can cause severe breathing problems. A child with severe
symptoms may need to stay in the hospital. The flu can lead to a lung infection called
pneumonia. In some cases, the flu can lead to death.
Children who have other health conditions that affect breathing, like
asthma, are at greater risk for flu complications.
The best way to prevent flu is to
have the yearly flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is given as a shot (injection). It is also
available as a nasal spray. But the CDC has limited the use of nasal sprays in recent
years. The CDC says this is because the nasal spray did not seem to protect against the
flu over the last several flu seasons.
Each year, a new flu vaccine is
available before the start of the flu season. Talk with your healthcare provider if you
have questions about how vaccines work and how well they prevent flu. The first time a
child between the ages of 6 months and 8 years gets a flu vaccine, he or she will need a
second flu vaccine 1 month later.
The vaccine is advised for all
children 6 months and older. But for some children, it’s more critical for them to get a
flu shot because they are more likely to have complications from the flu. The flu shot
should be given to any child who has any of these:
A long-term heart or lung condition
An endocrine disorder such as diabetes
A kidney or liver disorder
Weak immune system from HIV/AIDS or long-term steroids
A blood disorder such as sickle cell disease
A flu shot should also be given to:
A child who has a family member with a chronic health condition
A child or teen taking aspirin as long-term therapy
A child with parents or caregivers at high risk of complications from the flu
Some side effects of the vaccine
can be like mild flu symptoms, but the vaccine does not cause the flu. Side effects can
be prevented by taking over-the-counter medicines such as acetaminophen. Never give your
child aspirin without talking to your child's healthcare provider first. Possible side
effects of the flu vaccine include:
Soreness in the arm where the shot was given
Short-term symptoms such as mild headache or a low-grade fever for about 1 day after the shot
In rare cases, an allergic reaction in a child who has a severe allergy to eggs. Vaccines are available for those with an egg allergy.
In addition to the flu vaccine, you can do other things to help reduce your child’s risk of getting the flu. You can also:
Limit your child’s contact with infected people, if possible.
Have your child wash his or her hands often
And you can help prevent your child spreading the flu to others if you:
Have your child cover his or her nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Use a tissue or cough or sneeze in the crook of the arm.
Wash your hands before and after caring for your child.
Clean surfaces in the home that others may touch.
Call the healthcare provider if your child has:
Symptoms that don’t get better, or get worse
Influenza (flu) is a very contagious viral infection of the respiratory system.
It causes a high fever, body aches, a cough, and other symptoms.
Most children are ill with the flu for less than a week. But some children have a more serious illness and may need to be treated in the hospital. The flu may also lead to lung infection (pneumonia) or death.
The flu may be treated with
acetaminophen, cough medicine, and antiviral medicine. Your child will also need lots
of rest and plenty of fluids.
The best way to prevent flu is to have the yearly flu vaccine. Because the viruses change, researchers create a new flu vaccine each year to help protect against strains of the virus that are currently active. The vaccine is advised for all children 6 months and older.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects are.
Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.
Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.
Does your child have the flu? Read more about signs and symptoms.
Influenza (flu) is an easily spread
respiratory tract infection. It is caused by a virus. About 1 in 20 to 1 in 5 of people
in the U.S. get the flu each year. The flu usually starts abruptly, with fever, muscle
aches, sore throat, and a cough.
The flu can make people of any age
sick. Most people are sick with the flu for only a few days. But some have a much more
serious illness. They may need to go to the hospital. The flu can also lead to pneumonia
The flu viruses continually change.
Currently, 3 different influenza viruses circulate worldwide. Vaccines are given each
year to protect against the flu virus strains expected to cause the illness that
The flu is caused by a virus. Viruses are generally passed from person to person through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
But the virus can also live for a short time on objects like doorknobs, pens, pencils, keyboards, phones, and cups or eating utensils. So you can also get the flu by touching something that has been recently handled by someone infected with the virus and then touching your own mouth, nose, or eyes.
Each person may have different
symptoms. The flu is called a respiratory disease. But it can affect your whole body.
People usually become very sick with several, or all, of these symptoms:
Cough, often becoming severe
Fatigue for several weeks
Severe aches and pains
Sneezing at times
Sometimes a sore throat
Vomiting and diarrhea
Fever and body aches often last for
3 to 5 days. But cough and fatigue may last for 2 weeks or more.
The symptoms of the flu may look
like other health problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a
The flu is diagnosed based on your
symptoms. Lab tests may be used to confirm the diagnosis, if needed.
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on
how severe the condition is.
The goal of treatment for the flu
is to help prevent or decrease the severity of symptoms and any complications. Treatment
Antiviral medicines. These
prescription medicines can reduce how long you’ll have the flu. In some high risk
people, they can also lower the risk of complications or shorten how long they last.
These medicines generally have to be started within the first 2 days of the illness.
But people at the highest risk for complications or those who are already have them
may be given the medicines even after the second day of being sick. These medicines
do sometimes have side effects, such as nervousness, lightheadedness, or nausea. But
they are usually not too bad.
Medicines. There are over-the-counter
medicines for congestion and nasal discharge. You can also take medicine to relieve
aches and fever. Don't give aspirin to children or teens with fever. Aspirin may
cause side effects, such as an upset stomach and intestinal bleeding. It can also
cause Reye syndrome. This rare but very serious illness can affect all organs of the
body. But it most often injures the brain and liver. The medicine of choice for children and teens is acetaminophen.
Rest. Bed rest and plenty of fluids
Talk with your healthcare provider
for more information.
The most common complication of the
flu is pneumonia. It can also cause ear and sinus infections. In rare cases, it may
cause serious muscle, heart, and central nervous system problems. Of those who get the
flu in the U.S., between 3,000 and 49,000 each year will die from it or from
complications. Most of these deaths happen in people ages 65 and older or in those with
other health problems such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, cancer, or HIV/AIDS.
A new flu vaccine is made each
fall. Everyone ages 6 months and older should get a flu shot each year. It is usually
recommended for specific groups of people, as well as for anyone who doesn't want to get
The flu shot is safe. The CDC and
the FDA closely watch vaccine safety. Hundreds of millions of flu vaccines have been
safely given across the country for decades.
The flu shot can’t give you the
flu. But some of the side effects can be like the illness. The most common side effects
from a flu shot are:
Soreness where the shot was given
If you have them at all, these side
effects are usually mild and last a short time.
The effectiveness of the vaccine
varies from one person to another. It can depend on factors such as age and overall
The following may also be helpful
for preventing the flu:
When possible, stay away from or limit
contact with sick people.
Wash your hands frequently with soap
and water to reduce the risk of infection.
Cover your nose and mouth when
coughing or sneezing to limit spread of the virus.
The flu causes complications that
may develop into a more serious disease or become dangerous to some people. This
includes older adults and those with chronic health problems. Always talk with your
healthcare provider to find out if you should receive the flu shot.
Although the flu shot is safe, some
people should NOT be vaccinated. These include:
People who have had a severe reaction in the past after getting the flu
People who are sick with a fever
(these people should get vaccinated after they have recovered)
Babies who are age 6 months old or
People who have a history of
Guillain-Barré syndrome, a severe paralyzing illness, after getting the flu shot
In the past, the flu vaccine was not recommended for people with egg
allergies. This is no longer the case. Talk with your healthcare provider about which
flu vaccine is right for you.
The CDC recommends getting the flu
shot every year, as soon as it becomes available in your community. Flu season can begin
as early as October and most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. But flu
seasons are unpredictable. The flu shot takes 1 to 2 weeks to become effective.
The CDC recommends that travelers
have the flu vaccine at least 2 weeks before planned travel to allow time to
develop immunity. Talk with your healthcare provider for more information.
For most people, the flu can be
treated at home without treatment from your healthcare provider. But if you have other
health problems that make you more susceptible to complications from the flu, tell your
healthcare provider when you suspect you have the flu. If your symptoms get worse or you
have new symptoms, let your healthcare provider know.
The flu is an easily spread viral respiratory tract infection.
The flu is caused by viruses that are generally passed from person to person through the air.
The flu is treated with bed rest,
plenty of fluids, and medicines to treat discomfort and fever.
Antiviral medicines taken within the
first 2 days of illness can reduce the length and severity of the disease. They may
also reduce the risk of complications in those at high risk. Antiviral medicines are
also given after the first 2 days in those at highest risk and in those who have
Getting the flu shot every year is the best prevention.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your healthcare provider tells you.
At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
Know how you can contact your healthcare provider if you have questions.
What is influenza and why should you get the vaccine?
Learn how to differentiate between the flu and a cold with these tips.
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