Brodi Willard took to Facebook to encourage parents to look out for this eyebrow-raising warning sign of the flu.

By Parents
December 24, 2019
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This year's flu season has already seen 32,000 hospitalizations and 1,800 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To help you stay healthy, a mom and registered nurse from Nebraska named Brodi Willard has taken to social media with a warning about a surprising symptom of the flu: hives. (Here are a few other flu symptoms to be aware of this season.)

Willard wrote on Facebook that her son Seb "came home from school with hives," and "every time he would scratch, more would appear." Yet, when they tried changing his clothes and giving him a bath, neither helped. "I called his pediatrician," the concerned mother shared. "They said they had two kids come into the office that day with the same symptoms and tested POSITIVE FOR INFLUENZA. I took him to the doctor this morning and he tested POSITIVE for INFLUENZA B."

As if that wasn't already unnerving, Willard explained that the hives were her son's "only symptom. He has had NO symptoms. No fever, no cough, and no runny nose. He only has hives."

Her advice to other parents: Look out for hives, even if your child has shown no other signs related to the flu. And if they develop the symptom, "call your pediatrician. I have never heard of this symptom but it is obviously something to be on the lookout for."

Willard shared with local NBC affiliate WOWT that her son was put on Tamiflu and soon felt just fine. He was allowed to go back to school after about a week, according to the report. (Wait, how long does the flu usually last?)

As far as the reaction to Willard's post—which has racked up roughly 264,000 shares—the nurse says, "I didn't realize it was going to go as viral as it did on the web, and I even saw some comments of people saying, 'Yes, my child had hives and they also tested positive for Influenza B.'"

Rash (along with a fever) is included in the CDC's list of flu symptoms. But it's certainly not the first or even fifth sign of the flu you're probably looking for. And as some Facebook commenters noted, hives can actually be associated with all different kinds of viruses—not just the flu. That's because they're a sign that the immune system is fighting an infection.

It's also important to note that Willard's son was diagnosed with Influenza B, which is slightly different from Influenza A, in that it doesn't mutate as quickly. But it is associated with complications like bronchitis, pneumonia, inflammation of the heart or brain, and organ failure. (BTW, here's the difference between the flu and a cold.)

Nonetheless, Willard's post will undoubtedly encourage many parents to take swift action if they notice hives or any other potentially concerning symptoms.

This story originally appeared on Parents.com by Maressa Brown.

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