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Watch Out for This Little-Known Flu Symptom, Mom Warns

Photograph by Brodi Willard

With a deadly flu season that experts say hasn't yet hit its peak, yet has already claimed the lives of about 37 children in the U.S., it's important to keep an eye out for flu-like symptoms that may drag on or worsen, and prevent it from spreading. Not all symptoms are obvious, as a mom and registered nurse in Nebraska recently learned.

Brodi Willard went on Facebook to warn other parents of a new symptom that might go unnoticed: hives. Last week, Willard said that her son came home from school with a bad case of the hives that flared up on the back of his arm.

"Every time he would scratch, more would appear. We tried changing his clothes and giving him a bath, but nothing helped," the mom of two wrote.

Willard called her son's pediatrician, who said they had other kids who came in with the same symptoms and tested positive for influenza. While her son didn't have any of the usual flu symptoms (fevers, chills, coughs, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, exhaustion, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea), he did end up testing positive for influenza B.

"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," she warned.

According to Seattle Children's Hospital, not all hives indicate an allergy. Viral infections and some bacterial infections can also trigger hives all over the body.

If you or your child has flu-like symptoms, try to avoid contact with others as much as possible (especially now that researchers are saying the flu can be spread by breath alone).

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