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The little-known sign your child is infected with influenza

Parents are being warned to look out for changes in their children's breathing as it could be a sign they've got influenza and might need medical attention.

With the flu season upon us, the experts at Tiny Hearts Education — a first-aid service for parents — warned about the difficulties in identifying the contagious and potentially deadly infection, particularly in young children.

"It can be hard to distinguish between Influenza and a cold, but remember, a cold doesn't usually cause aches, pains or high fever," they wrote in a post on Instagram.

Along with symptoms including a runny nose, cough, fatigue, and a sore throat or body aches, it's common for babies to experience gastro problems and difficulty breathing too.

A baby's tummy can show signs of distress by how it moves while breathing. Source: TikTok/TinyHeartsEducation
A baby's tummy can show signs of distress by how it moves while breathing. Source: TikTok/TinyHeartsEducation

Tiny Hearts Education — which was founded by Australian paramedic Nikki and her sister Rachel — shared a video of a young child who appeared to be working harder to breathe than normal.

Identifying the issue could be life-saving.

Sarah Hunstead, the founder of CPR Kids, told Yahoo News Australia there are many signs that indicate difficulty breathing, so it pays to be aware.

"In babies and young children signs that show your child is having difficulty breathing may include difficulty feeding, flaring of the nostrils and bobbing of the head," she explained.

Noisy breathing or a notable difference in sounds could also be an indicator. So too can faster breathing than usual, sucking in at the base of the neck and sucking in around the tummy and ribs.

"With any respiratory illness (and certain other illnesses too) difficulty breathing is a sign that your child needs urgent medical help," she warned.

'Empower yourself'

In another post on Instagram, Tiny Hearts suggested parents should film their kids breathing normally, that way they can instantly compare when they might be concerned.

"The best way you can empower yourself to confidently tell if the breathing is normal or not is to have a video of normal breathing," they wrote.

"Get a clear video of the chest and abdomen without a top on, and film for at least 30 seconds. Next time you’re worried if bubs is breathing normally or not, pull up the video of them breathing normally for easy comparison."

Expert warns of 'severe' threat to Aussies

Dr Tin Fei Sim, Senior Lecturer at Curtin Medical School and President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, previously told Yahoo News Australia now was not the time to be dismissive of the flu.

"There is a misconception out there that influenza is just like any other cold, or it's not as severe as Covid-19," she said.

Parents are being urged to look out for the key signs. Source: Getty
Parents are being urged to look out for the key signs. Source: Getty

"The message here should be loud and clear. Every single Australian should consider getting the influenza vaccine as soon as possible.

"It can be very severe, can lead to short and long term complications, hospitalisations and some cases death."

Last week, NSW and Victoria announced free flu vaccines for the public for anyone over six months of age. Queensland had already offered free flu vaccines until June 30. The Western Australian and South Australian governments are also offering free flu jabs in June.

"We strongly urge everyone over six months of age to get a flu shot as soon as possible to protect themselves and their loved ones, as the virus is easily spread and potentially deadly," NSW's Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said.

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