Nurse's Warning About Unexpected Flu Symptom Goes Viral, Encouraging Parents To Keep Kids Safe

Eighty percent of acute hives in children are caused by a viral infection.

The influenza season is in full swing and, unfortunately, this is one of the worst we've had in the U.S. in years

"Flu is everywhere in the U.S. right now," Dr. Daniel Jernigan, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's influenza division, said during a media briefing a few weeks ago. "There has been a very rapid increase in the numbers of people coming in to see their doctors. The season has started early, and it is probably peaking right about now."

"There is also a rapid rise in the number of people being hospitalized for laboratory-confirmed flu," Jernigan added.

Some of the flu symptoms to look out for, according to the CDC, are fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea. People with the flu may have some, all, or none of these symptoms. 

But one nurse warns that parents should also be on alert for an unexpected symptom: hives.


"My son came home from school with hives," Brodi Willard wrote on Facebook about her son, Seb. "Every time he would scratch, more would appear. We tried changing his clothes and giving him a bath, but nothing helped." 

Willard decided to call his pediatrician for help. "They said they had two kids come into the office that day with the same symptoms and tested POSITIVE FOR INFLUENZA," she wrote. "I took him to the doctor this morning, and he tested POSITIVE for INFLUENZA B. He has had NO symptoms. No fever, no cough, and no runny nose. He only has hives. Please keep watch on your children so if they develop hives, please call your pediatrician. I have never heard of this symptom but it is obviously something to be on the lookout for."

While hives aren't a common symptom for influenza, 80 percent of acute hives in children are caused by a viral infection. Seattle Children's Hospital's website notes that some bacterial infections, such as strep and UTIs, can also cause hives. 

In 2015, researchers in British Columbia published a paper about rash presentations among school children during an outbreak of influenza B — the same strain Willard said her son contracted. 

Hives may not be commonly associated with the flu, but Willard hopes sharing her son's story will encourage parents of children who have them to see the doctor sooner. 

Luckily, Seb is on his way to being back in good health. "They put him on the Tamiflu, and he's been fine," Willard told WOWT. "He's still playing and running around."

To learn more about the flu and how it's presenting this season, visit the CDC's website.


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