CDC: Recognizing early flu symptoms in kids is vital

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YONKERS -

Amid a flu season that has taken the lives of children across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says recognizing pediatric flu symptoms and early warning signs is vital for parents.

Doctors say young children are at risk of serious flu complications if not recognized and treated immediately. One of the flu strains spreading this season, H3-N2 is affecting children more than most.

"Sometimes its the virus infection itself that can become so severe in a person that it can result in death. The flu viruses weakens your immune system and you can get a bacterial infection on top of it," explains Dr. Alicia Fry, of the CDC Influenza Prevention and Control Team.

According to the CDC, the best way for parents to protect their children is to get them vaccinated every year.

Recognizing flu warning signs are critical, too. Among them: if your child is having trouble breathing or breathing fast, has bluish skin color, or is not waking up or not interacting or unusually  irritable.

Experts say early detection could save a child's life.

"As soon as they have symptoms and they suspect they might have the flu, they should call their doctor right away. Because they could benefit from early treatment with antiviral drugs," says Dr. Fry.

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