Influenza in Children

Indian J Pediatr. 2017 Feb;84(2):139-143. doi: 10.1007/s12098-016-2232-x. Epub 2016 Sep 19.


In children, influenza is one among the commonest causes of acute respiratory illness and loss of school days. Influenza A, B, and C are 3 types of viruses responsible for illness. Type A virus has many subtypes based on antigens but Type B and Type C viruses have no known subtypes. Currently, influenza A/H1N1, A/H3N2, and influenza type B viruses are circulating in humans. Transmission of influenza occurs through droplets from infected person or through direct contact with person or fomites. Clinically, influenza is characterized by acute onset fever, chills, running nose, cough, sore throat, headache and myalgia. Mostly, febrile illness lasts for 3-4 d with resolution of disease in 7-10 d. Confirmation of influenza can be done either by virus culture, RT-PCR or specific neutralizing antibodies in blood. Basic principles of management include prompt institution of infection control measures, early identification of children at higher risk, supportive care and antiviral drugs. Vaccine and chemoprophylaxis are two commonly used methods for prevention of influenza. Currently, inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) and live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) are available for use with good efficacy. Cough etiquette, use of face masks and hand hygiene are the most important measures to reduce the risk of infection transmission from person to person.

Keywords: H1N1; Influenza; Influenza vaccine; Oseltamivir.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human* / complications
  • Influenza, Human* / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human* / therapy
  • Influenza, Human* / virology
  • Referral and Consultation