NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York State has seen a sudden spike in the flu, and the virus is now considered “prevalent.”
But as CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, some children are getting even sicker and coming down with pneumonia.
For many kids, going to school can be like learning in a petri dish where germs spread like wildfire.
“She just got over being sick, and he was sick the week before,” said Midtown mom Miriam Allman.
Some schools are warning parents of possible exposure to pneumonia, with students attending classes easily mistaking their lung infection for a common cold.
“I think it’s tough, because you know you have a runny nose – if I didn’t send my kids to school every day they had a runny nose, they would never get to go to school, right?” Allman said.
“Cough and cold – you’ll end up with congestion, cough, sometimes with sputum, sometimes yellow, sometimes green, and you may have a low-grade fever,” said Dr. Peter Shearer, of Mount Sinai. “Pneumonia could be the exact same symptoms.”
Dr. Shearer says the main indicator for pneumonia is amplified cold symptoms, including a more severe cough and a higher fever of 102 or more lasting for at least 48 hours.
An untreated flu could also lead to pneumonia, which is why medical experts urge people to get the flu shot as we head into peak flu season.
“Those patients that have a virulent strain of the flu that’s not covered by the vaccine, it will also help reduce the symptoms of that flu,” said Victor Politi, of Nassau University Medical Center.
Vaccination, a healthy diet, exercise and hand washing are the best preventative measures.
“I worry about it, and I make sure she washes her hands all the time,” another mom said.
But when you find that you or your child are suffering from the symptoms, when should you finally head to a doctor?
“If you’ve been having the symptoms for two or three days and you’re still running high fevers – 102.5, 103, 104 – that might be a time to certainly call your pediatrician and get their advice,” said Dr. Shearer.
The doctor said if you do have any of the symptoms, you shouldn’t rush to an emergency room where there likely will be someone who does have the flu. He also said not to rush to take antibiotics, because you could build up a resistance.