Nurse Shares Urgent Warning About New Flu Symptom Most Parents Have Never Seen

Brodi Willard/Facebook

Flu season is in full swing, and in most states, the virus is proving to be more dangerous than ever. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 6 percent of all patients visiting hospitals and emergency clinics are exhibiting flu-like symptoms and more than 37 children have died. As a result, parents everywhere are looking out for things like fevers, runny noses, and coughs. But there's one flu symptom many moms and dads don't know to look out for. Brodi Willard, a Nebraska nurse and mom, is warning parents after her son was diagnosed with influenza B. His only symptom? Hives.


"Please read and share," Willard wrote on Facebook earlier this week. "My son came home from school with hives. Every time he would scratch, more would appear. We tried changing his clothes and giving him a bath, but nothing helped. I called his pediatrician. They said they had two kids come into the office that day with the same symptoms and tested POSITIVE FOR INFLUENZA."

Brodi Willard/Facebook

Worried, Willard took her son to see his pediatrician. Sure enough, he was diagnosed with influenza B, and his mom was left in shock. "He has had NO symptoms," she wrote in her post. "No fever, no cough, and no runny nose. He only has hives. Please keep watch on your children so if they develop hives, please call your pediatrician. I have never heard of this symptom but it is obviously something to be on the lookout for."

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Willard, who is a registered nurse, told WOWT she never expected her post to go viral, but within four days, it got over 167,000 shares. Even more surprising, many people started leaving comments saying their kids got hives as a flu symptom as well.

As some pointed out, hives can actually be a "symptom" of many different viruses. They're an immune response that can be triggered by your body fighting a viral infection, and they usually only last for a few days. In rare cases, they can last for up to six weeks or even be accompanied by other dangerous symptoms, like swelling of the throat or tongue.

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While the hives themselves are not usually cause for concern, it's important to note them as a sign of the flu, so kids can get tested and diagnosed sooner. Influenza B is similar to influenza A, the strain responsible for the vast majority of flu deaths this year, though it's generally not thought to be as dangerous because the B virus does not mutate as quickly. Still, it is highly contagious and can cause serious complications, like bronchitis, pneumonia, inflammation of the heart or brain, and even organ failure. According to the Houston Chronicle, a 12-year-old Palm Beach, Florida, boy died of influenza B on January 21, 2018.

Symptoms of influenza B are similar to symptoms of influenza A. They typically include things like fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat, and vomiting or diarrhea. But as demonstrated by this mom's post, it's important to consult your children's doctor any time you suspect they might be seriously ill. An early diagnosis could help them get better faster and keep them from spreading the virus to people at school.

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