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This year’s flu causing hallucinations among children: B.C. pediatrician

Her daughter started experiencing hallucinations the morning after a feverish night

This year’s strain of the flu is causing hallucinations among children, says a pediatrician in Vernon.

Dr. Kathryn MacKinlay wrote a post for Interior Health about her experiences both in the emergency department and with a sick kid of her own at home, to help parents through this particularly nasty cold and flu season.

Her daughter, Marissa, started experiencing hallucinations the morning after a feverish night.

MacKinlay recounted her experience:

“Mommy, Mommy, make it stop!”

“Make what stop?”

“It’s loud. They’re yelling!”

“Shhhhh, sweetie, no one is yelling.”

“Stop, stop, aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh.”

MacKinlay explained that she has seen many other kids hallucinating while sick with Influenza A in the emergency department over the last few weeks.

MacKinlay said she has seen children, who are positive for influenza, who hear loud sounds, perceive objects as too large or too far away, and feel scared that someone or something is trying to hurt them.

“I’m glad that I knew enough about this year’s Influenza A delirium to not have to bring Marissa to the emergency department, but I wouldn’t hesitate to bring her in for excellent care if she was exhibiting the symptoms [of an emergency],” said MacKinlay.

Symptoms requiring a trip to the emergency department include:

• Respiratory distress (working hard to breathe or breathing much faster than normal);

• Unusually pale, whitish or blue lips;

• Asthma or wheezing not responding to prescribed medications;

• Fever in a child less than 3 months old;

• Fever in a child with immune or complex chronic health problems;

• Difficult to wake up;

• Fever lasting longer than 5 days in a child any age;

• Fever with a rash that looks like either blisters or bruises that don’t turn white or fade when you push on them.

While it’s hard to see your child sick, almost all viruses can be managed at home with fluids, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil), and rest, said MacKinlay.

She suggests to speak with a pharmacist who can help choose the right alternate product and dose for a child.

For more information about Influenza in children, visit

Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

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