Serving all people by providing personalized health and wellness through exemplary care, education and research.
Explore health content from A to Z.
I need information about...
Learn More About Ear, Nose & Throat Conditions
Otolaryngologists, also called ear, nose and throat or ENT specialists, treat diseases and injuries affecting the ear, nose and throat, as well as the head and neck.
Whether you're battling a balance disorder, having trouble hearing or simply sick of seasonal allergies, the ENT specialists on the medical staff at Baylor can help you or your family with treatment for many conditions.
Call 1.800.4BAYLOR for a referral to a physician on the medical staff at one of our hospitals.
Get the information you need about the H1N1 virus.
Influenza (flu) is a highly contagious viral infection and is one of the most severe illnesses of the winter season.
Influenza is a viral infection of the upper respiratory system, which includes the nose, bronchial tubes, and lungs. Influenza has these common symptoms:
Influenza can make people of any age ill. Although most people, including children, are ill with influenza for less than a week, some have a much more serious illness and may need to be hospitalized. Influenza may also lead to pneumonia or death.
Influenza viruses are divided into three types designated as A, B, and C:
Influenza types A and B cause epidemics of respiratory illness that happen almost every winter. They often lead to increased rates of hospitalization and death. Public health efforts to control the spread of influenza focus on types A and B. One of the reasons the flu remains a problem is because the viruses actually change their structure regularly. This means that people are exposed to new types of the virus each year.
Influenza type C usually causes either a very mild respiratory illness or no symptoms at all. It does not cause epidemics and does not have the severe public health impact that influenza types A and B do.
Influenza viruses continually change (mutate), which helps the virus to evade the immune system of both children and adults. People can get the flu no matter what their age. The process works like this:
A person infected with an influenza virus develops antibodies against that virus.
The virus changes.
The "older" antibodies no longer recognize the "newer" virus when the next flu season comes around.
The person becomes infected again.
The older antibodies can give some protection against getting the flu again. Vaccines given each year to protect against the flu contain the influenza virus strain from each type that is expected to cause the flu that year.
An influenza virus is generally passed from person to person through the air. This means your child can get the flu by coming in contact with an infected person who sneezes or coughs. The virus can also live for a short time on things like doorknobs, pens or pencils, keyboards, telephone receivers, and eating or drinking utensils. So your child can get the flu virus by touching something that has been handled by someone infected with the virus and then touching his or her own mouth, nose, or eyes.
People are generally the most contagious with the flu 24 hours before they start having symptoms and during the time they have the most symptoms. That's why it is hard to prevent the spread of the flu, especially among children, because they do not always know they are sick while they are still spreading the disease. The risk of infecting others usually stops around the seventh day of the infection.
Influenza is called a respiratory disease, but the whole body seems to suffer when a child has it. Children usually become suddenly ill with any or all of the following symptoms:
Fever, which may be as high as 103° F (39.4° C) to 105° F (40.5° C)
Muscle and joint aches and pains
Not feeling well "all over"
Runny or stuffy nose
Most people recover from influenza within a week, but they still feel exhausted for as long as 3 to 4 weeks.
The symptoms of influenza may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always see your child's health care provider for a diagnosis.
A cold and the flu are two different illnesses. A cold is relatively harmless and usually clears up by itself after a period of time. Sometimes a cold may lead to a secondary infection, such as an ear infection. But the flu can lead to complications, such as pneumonia and even death. What may seem like a cold may be the flu. Be aware of these differences:
Low or no fever
Sometimes a headache
Headache (very common)
Stuffy, runny nose
Clear nose or stuffy nose
Mild, hacking cough
Cough, often becoming severe
Slight aches and pains
Often severe aches and pains
Several weeks of fatigue
Sometimes a sore throat
Normal energy level or may feel sluggish
A new influenza vaccine is available each year, before the start of flu season. All children, beginning at 6 months, should get the flu vaccine each year, as soon as it is available in their community.
The flu vaccine is available as a shot and a nasal spray. The nasal spray vaccine is for healthy children and adolescents ages 2 to 17 (and in healthy adults ages 18 to 49). It is recommended, instead of the shot, for healthy children ages 2 to 8 years old. The nasal spray vaccine should not be given to those who:
Have weakened immune systems
Have an egg allergy
Have asthma or wheezing (young children)
Are taking aspirin ling-term (children and adolescents)
Will have close contact with someone with a weakened immune system within 7 days
Took antiviral medication in the past 2 days
The flu shot, instead of the nasal spray, should be given to those people. Be sure to talk with your health care provider about which flu vaccine is right for your child.
Antiviral medications can be prescribed to help prevent someone from getting severe long-lasting symptoms or from getting the flu. Talk with your child's health care provider about antiviral medication if your child was around someone with the flu.
Following these precautions may be helpful:
When possible, avoid or limit contact with infected people.
Frequent handwashing may reduce, but not eliminate, the risk for infection.
A person who is coughing or sneezing should cover his or her nose and mouth with a tissue or inside elbow to limit spread of the virus.
Vaccine effectiveness varies from year to year, depending on how close the influenza virus strains included in the vaccine match strain or strains that actually circulate during the influenza season. Vaccine strains must be chosen 9 to 10 months before the influenza season. Sometimes, changes occur in the circulating strains of viruses between the time vaccine strains are chosen and the next influenza season. These changes may reduce the ability of the vaccine-induced antibodies to stop the newly mutated virus. This decreases the chance that the vaccine will work.
Vaccine effectiveness also varies from one person to another, depending on factors like age and overall health.
The most serious side effect of an influenza vaccination is an allergic reaction in people who have a severe allergy to eggs. There are vaccines available for those with an egg allergy.
Some people who get the vaccine have soreness at the vaccine site. Some people have mild side effects, such as a headache or a low-grade fever for about a day after vaccination. Because these mild side effects are like some influenza symptoms, some people believe influenza vaccine causes them to get influenza. But the CDC says that "influenza vaccine produced in the United States has never been capable of causing influenza because the only type of influenza vaccine that has been licensed in the United States to the present time is made from killed influenza viruses, which cannot cause infection."
The vaccine is recommended for all people 6 months and older, including pregnant women. People who are allergic to eggs may be given a different flu vaccine for people with an egg allergy. It is especially important that people in these groups get a flu shot:
Pregnant women and women who plan to be pregnant during flu season
People 50 and older. Vaccine effectiveness may be lower for older adults, but it can significantly reduce their chances of serious illness or death from influenza.
Children 6 months to 19 years old
Residents of nursing homes and any other long-term care facilities that house people of any age who have chronic medical conditions
Adults and children who have long-term heart or lung conditions
Adults and children who have the following medical conditions:
Endocrine disorders, such as diabetes
Kidney or liver disorders
Weakened immune system from diseases such as HIV or AIDS or taking long-term steroids
Blood disorders such as sickle cell disease
Children and teenagers ages 6 months to 19 years who are taking aspirin as long-term therapy
Health care providers and other staff that provide care in hospitals, nursing homes, home healthy and other facilities
Household members, including children, of people in high-risk groups
Specific treatment for influenza will be determined by your child's doctor based on:
Your child's age, overall health, and medical history
The severity of symptoms
Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
The goal of treatment for influenza is to help prevent or decrease the severity of symptoms. Treatment may include:
Medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to relieve aches and fever. Aspirin should not be given to children with a fever without talking to your child's health care provider first. The drug of choice for children is acetaminophen.
Increased fluid intake
Medication for your child's cough may be prescribed by your child's provider after a thorough check-up.
Antiviral medications may help to shorten the length of the illness and decrease the severity of symptoms, but do not cure the flu. They must be started within three days after symptoms begin to have an effect on the virus. The length of therapy will be determined by your child's provider. Antiviral medications may also be given as prophylaxis or prevention following exposure to someone with influenza.
Does your child have the flu? Read more about signs and symptoms.
Influenza, or flu, is an easily spread respiratory tract infection. It is caused by a virus. About 5% to 20% of people in the U.S. get the flu each year. The flu usually starts abruptly, with fever, muscle aches, sore throat, and a cough.
The flu can make people of any age ill. Although most people are ill with the flu for only a few days, some have a much more serious illness and may need to go to the hospital. The flu can also lead to pneumonia and death.
The flu viruses continually change (mutate).Currently, three different influenza viruses circulate worldwide. Vaccines given each year to protect against the flu fight the flu virus strain expected to cause the illness that year.
The flu is caused by a virus. Viruses are generally passed from person to person through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
But the virus can also live for a short time on objects like doorknobs, pens, pencils, keyboards, telephone receivers, and eating or drinking utensils. So you can also get the flu by touching something that has been recently handled by someone infected with the virus and then touching your own mouth, nose, or eyes.
Each person may experience symptoms differently. The flu is called a respiratory disease, but the whole body seems to suffer. People usually become very ill with several, or all, of the following symptoms:
Fever and body aches usually last for 3 to 5 days, but cough and fatigue may last for 2 weeks or more.
The symptoms of the flu may look like other medical conditions. Always consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.
The flu is diagnosed based on your symptoms. Lab tests may be used to confirm the diagnosis if necessary.
Specific treatment for the flu will be determined by your health care provider based on:
The goal of treatment for the flu is to help prevent or decrease the severity of symptoms. Treatment may include:
Consult your health care provider for more information.
The most common complication of the flu is pneumonia. It can also cause serious muscle and central nervous system complications. Of those who get the flu, between 3,000 and 49,000 will die from it or from complications. Most of these deaths occur in people over 65.
A new flu vaccine is made each fall. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each season It is usually recommended for specific groups of people, as well as for anyone who wants to avoid having the flu.
The flu vaccine is safe. The CDC and the FDA closely watch vaccine safety, and hundreds of millions of flu vaccines have been safely given across the country for decades.
The flu vaccine can't give you the flu. The most common side effects from a flu shot are soreness where the shot was given and maybe a low fever or achiness. The nasal spray flu vaccine might cause congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or cough. If you do have them at all, these side effects are usually mild and short-lived.
The effectiveness of the vaccine varies from one person to another, depending on factors such as age and overall health.
A nasal spray flu vaccine is currently approved to prevent flu in healthy children and teens ages 2 to 17, and healthy adults ages 18 to 49. As with other live virus vaccines, the nasal spray vaccine should not be given for any reason to pregnant women or people with weak immune systems. This includes those with immune deficiency diseases, such as AIDS or cancer, or people who are being treated with medications that weaken the immune system. The nasal spray vaccine also should not be given to these groups of people:
Following these precautions may also be helpful:
The flu causes complications that may develop into a more serious disease or become dangerous to some groups, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions. For these reasons, the CDC recommends that the following groups get a vaccine each year. Always consult your health care provider for more information regarding who should receive the flu vaccine:
Although the flu immunization is safe, some people should NOT be vaccinated. These include:
The CDC recommends getting the flu shot every year, as soon as it becomes available in your community. Flu season can begin as early as October and most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February, but flu seasons are unpredictable. The flu shot takes 1 to 2 weeks to become effective.
For most people, the flu can be treated at home without treatment from your health care provider. However, if your condition or situation makes you more susceptible to complications from the flu, tell your health care provider when you suspect you have the flu. If your symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms, let your health care provider know.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
What is influenza and why should you get the vaccine?
Learn how to differentiate between the flu and a cold with these tips.
Copyright © 2016 Baylor Scott & White Health. All Rights Reserved. |
3500 Gaston Ave., Dallas, TX 75246-2017 | 1.800.4BAYLOR