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"Here's what happened when my child got influenza": A Sri Lankan mum's story

Sifani talks about her experience and shares valuable tips with other parents on how to care for a child with influenza.

Sifani is a Sri Lankan mum living in Malaysia. She reached out to us after our article on H1N1 and kids, wanting to share her own story and experience of what happened when both she and her child contracted the influenza B virus*. 

She also shares valuable tips for mums on the care of a child with influenza: 

Sifani's Story

My elder son got influenza B twice. The first time, he was just one and a half years old and the next time, two and a half years old. I also got the virus the second time he contracted it.

It wasn't really severe the first time. The hospital prescribed a medication called Fluhalt and he was okay. But the second time he got it, it was much more severe.

We thought it was a normal fever and he was on regular flu medication for almost a week. Then, with no improvement of his symptoms, we decided to take him to the hospital and got a blood test done for H1N1 and influenza B.

It turned out he had it influenza B again! We had the option of taking him home and caring for him or admitting him to the hospital. We decided to admit him as my second son was only eight months old at the time.

So he was warded and on the drip for about four days and was given Tamiflu. The day he was being discharged I was coming down with a fever but ignored it.

The next day I couldn't get off the bed or even open my eyes. Somehow I managed to get up by afternoon and we went to the hospital and did a blood test. It turned out I had contracted influenza B as well.

I got the medications and went home.  I was in isolation for almost five days. I experienced severe body pains and a loss of appetite. I had to wear a mask when carrying my baby, too. 

My husband and I stayed at the hospital with my son as he wanted both of us to be with him. We took turns to go home and visit our baby. We were advised by the doctor to have a bath and cleanse ourselves before touching the baby.

When my son got the virus, he experienced a severe loss of appetite. All he would request for was water and sometimes biscuits. After he got sick, we were advised to keep him in isolation (away from the baby) for a day or two. In the event he wanted to be around the baby he wore a mask.

It took us both a couple of weeks to fully recover from the virus, and even longer for our appetites to return to normal.

I'd like to share the following tips about caring for a child with influenza: 

  • It's important not to force feed the child at this time. Loss of appetite is quite normal. But always keep the child hydrated with water, juice or soups to prevent dehydration.
  • Plenty of rest is key to full recovery.
  • Try to wear a mask when around the person affected by influenza. 
  • The isolation of the patient is recommended to reduce the spreading of the virus, as it is air-borne (especially if there are other smaller kids/babies).
  • Anyone who comes in contact with a person with influenza should cleanse themselves by having a full bath. 
  • Never send a sick child to school. 

*Flu (influenza) viruses are divided into three broad categories: influenza A, B or C. Influenza A is the most common type. H1N1 flu is a variety of influenza A.

**Always seek a doctor's advice if your child has fever for more than two days. 

සිංහල භාෂාවෙන් කියවන්න: "මගේ දරුවා H1N1 වලින් මම බේරාගත්තේ නිසි පිළිවෙත් අනුගමනය කළ නිසයි"

 We'd like to thank Sifani for reaching out to us with her story. Do you have a story you want to share? Send us a message via Facebook and tell us what it is!