When Influenza arrives in Western Michigan and your child has the symptoms listed below in the first 48 hours of the illness, Alger Pediatrics recommends calling to have a nasal swab for Influenza performed. If positive, the medication Tamiflu can be prescribed to shorten duration of illness.


For the influenza season of 2012-13 the CDC is recommending that everyone receive Influenza vaccine. Previously only high risk groups were mandated to receive vaccine due to limited supplies. Several manufacturers produce flu vaccine now allowing for supplies adequate to insure universal vaccination. There are two good reasons to be vaccinated. First is the prevention of five days of misery. Second and more important is the prevention of 35,000 influenza related deaths annually especially in the elderly. Old folks don't mount as good an immunologic response to the vaccine and are particularly vulnerable. When the herd is vaccinated, the elderly benefit. So part of getting vaccinated is to protect Grandpa and Grandma. You are "taking one for the team" when you get your flu vaccine. If you have needle phobia, get the mist. But "just do it."

*Flumist is an inhaled flu vaccine--no pokes! It is available for patients 2 to 49 years of age. Flumist may not be given to patients who have an egg allergy, who receive aspirin or aspirin containing therapy, or who have asthma or recurrent wheezing. Flumist is generally well-tolerated, but common side effects include runny nose, sore throat, or fever. It is a live attenuated (not able to pass disease) vaccine. Certain medical conditions preclude use of live vaccine.

Fluzone is an injectable flu vaccine for patients of all ages. Fluzone may not be given to patients with an egg allergy. We also have preservative free Fluzone, available for children 6 to 35 months of age. This is a killed vaccine.

Please be specific with the nurse which type of vaccine you want your child to have.

INFLUENZA (Seasonal Influenza)

Influenza is a viral illness that is highly contagious and transmitted person to person via the airborne route by aerosol transmission (sneezes, coughing).

Prevention: The best way to prevent influenza is to wash your hands frequently. Teach your children to cough or sneeze into their elbows or a tissue to avoid spreading germs.

Influenza symptoms start suddenly and include:

  1. Fever (102 - 105 F) and chills for 2-5 day
  2. Cough: the hacking, "irritating" type
  3. Myalgia (muscle aches)
  4. Sore throat
  5. Runny nose
  6. Dizziness
  7. Irritated eyes
  8. Headaches
  9. Fatigue ("washed out", feeling "awful all over".)

Please note that influenza generally does not include vomiting and diarrhea. Vomiting/diarrhea "flu" is not influenza.

If your child has a high fever and some or all of the above symptoms you may contact our office to set up an appointment to have your child tested for Influenza.

Supportive care for your child includes: Bed rest; Liquids; Humidity (vaporizer or shower "steaming" will help relieve congestion and soothe sore throats); Do not give your child aspirin for fever. Only acetaminophen or ibuprofen should be used.

Complications of Influenza: Ear Infection, Pneumonia.

Call our office if the fever lasts more than four days, your child's cough worsens, breathing becomes more labored, your child is not improving, or for any other concern.

H1N1 INFLUENZA (Pandemic Influenza) initially called swine flu is a variety of Influenza A occurred last influenza season. The CDC will be tracking whether it will appear again this year. This years seasonal flu vaccine has an H1N1 strain in it. An excellent information site is from the CDC.

Why did we vaccinate for H1N1? Although this is not likely to be like the pandemic of 1918, it is good to review the previous pandemics to underscore the value of vaccine. In 1918-1919, it hit it three waves. Mild influenza spawned the first wave in the spring and into the summer of 1918. The next wave, this time more severe than its precursor, occurred in the fall. The final wave returned in the spring of 1919. This pandemic took with it about 20 million lives globally (675,000 in the United States). The impact of the epidemic was far reaching with many orphaned children and collapsed municipal infrastructure. Schools and stores were closed indefinitely.

In 1957-58 influenza (H1N1) returned to the US causing more than 70,000 deaths. Another pandemic in 1968 saw 33,000 lives claimed.

As it stands now, the 2009 pandemic does not appear as serious as 1918 or 1967. But we are better prepared to deal with it. These vaccines are extremely safe and are manufactured in the same fashion as seasonal influenza vaccine.

Call or Visit

  • phone: (616) 243-9515

  • FAX: (616) 243-1815

  • after hours: (616) 776-7401

  • or contact us via the Patient Portal

  • Alger Pediatrics
    733 Alger St. SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507