Even with excellent influenza (flu) vaccination practices, your office will still likely see children with the flu. It is important to properly diagnose and treat these patients.
Flu diagnostic tests vary by method, availability, processing time, sensitivity, and cost, all of which should be considered in making the best clinical decision. See Table 5 in the AAP Policy Statement: Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2020-21 for a comparison of the types of flu diagnostic tests. Given the similarities in clinical presentation, testing for flu and for SARS-CoV-2 infection should be offered to patients with a febrile respiratory illness or flu-like illness.
According to the latest research, timely treatment of flu can reduce the durations of symptoms and fever in pediatric populations. Antiviral agents are available for flu treatment in children of all ages. The recommended dosage and schedule for flu antiviral medications for treatment of flu in children can be found in Table 4 of the AAP influenza policy statement. Clinical judgment (on the basis of underlying conditions, disease severity, time since symptom onset, and local influenza activity) is an important factor in treatment decisions for pediatric patients who present with flu-like illness.
For more specific information on appropriate diagnosis and treatment, please view the AAP Policy Statement: Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2020-21 and the AAP Red Book.
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