Registered Nurse and mom, Brodi Willard, didn’t know that she was about to go viral when she posted a photo of her son’s arm—she was simply trying to share a helpful piece of little-known information with her fellow moms.

Well, share she did! And we are so grateful.

Her son came home from school one day with hives on his body. Hives are raised bumps on the skin, usually itchy, that can vary in shape and size. Willard’s son was otherwise perfectly healthy—no coughing, fever or pain. But every time he scratched, his mom noticed that more hives appeared.

She called her pediatrician who told her “they had two kids come into the office that day with the same symptoms and tested POSITIVE FOR INFLUENZA.” She went right in and sure enough, her son was diagnosed with the flu.

Usually, when we think about the flu, we think about fevers, coughs, runny noses and body aches. It turns out the hives are actually a common symptom of any virus (like the flu). That’s why we are so glad that Ms. Willard shared her story.

This year’s flu has been a rough one—12,000 people have already been hospitalized for the flu, and 37 children have died from it.

In addition to hives, here are some symptoms of the flu to look out for:

  • Fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater)
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Body aches and headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea and vomiting

The Centers for Disease Control recommend the following steps in preventing the flu:

  • Vaccination for every 6 months and older
  • Avoiding people who are sick
  • Covering mouths and noses with tissues when you cough or sneeze, and the throwing the tissue out
  • Wash hands with soap and water frequently
  • Try not to touch your eyes, mouth and nose
  • Clean hard surfaces with disinfectant

The key here is not to be afraid to speak up if you have a concern. YOU are your child’s expert. If something just doesn’t feel right, call your pediatrician.

Hang in there. Spring will come again.