Mom shares alarming photo of son's only flu 'symptom'

A viral photograph currently making the rounds on social media is serving as a warning to parents during this deadly flu season.

Brodi Willard, a mom and registered nurse in Nebraska, took to Facebook on Jan. 26 to share a photo of what she claims was her 6-year-old son's only flu symptom — and it's one you might not have known to look out for.

"My son came home from school with hives," she wrote. "Every time he would scratch, more would appear. We tried changing his clothes and giving him a bath, but nothing helped."

When Willard called her son's pediatrician, the doctor told her that two kids who came into the office that day with symptoms matching her son's ended up testing positive for influenza.

The concerned mother brought her son to the pediatrician and, sure enough, he tested positive for influenza B.

"He has had NO symptoms," she wrote on Facebook. "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," she ended her warning. "I have never heard of this symptom but it is obviously something to be on the lookout for."

Willard's photo has been shared over 250,000 times and racked up more than 15,000 comments since it was posted.

However, at least one expert has cautioned that Willard's son's hives and flu diagnosis might have been unrelated.

Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told TODAY that he and his colleagues believe the case is "very, very odd."

"We're all scratching our heads. We’ve never heard of it before, so I think the answer is a strong maybe. It certainly is unusual," Dr. Schaffner told TODAY. "Just a rash alone without any other symptoms… I wouldn’t run right away with a diagnosis of influenza on the basis of this anecdote."

Either way, all parents should be on the lookout for potential flu symptoms — which may include fever and chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue and diarrhea — during this particularly deadly season.

According to the CDC, there have already been 37 influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported for the 2017-18 season.

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2018 flu season in the US
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2018 flu season in the US
Emergency room nurse Kathy Nguyen wears a mask as deals with flu patients at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, U.S., January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Emergency room nurse Christine Bauer treats Joshua Lagade of Vista, California, for the flu as his girlfriend Mayra Mora looks on in the emergency room at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, U.S., January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Emergency room nurse Christine Bauer treats Joshua Lagade of Vista, California, for the flu in the emergency room at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, U.S., January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Doug Hasselo, 87 of Carlsbad, California, is treated for the flu by float nurse Nellie Reyes in the emergency room at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, U.S., January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Joshua Lagade of Vista, California, gets an IV from emergency room nurse Christine Bauer at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, U.S., January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Emergency room nurse Richard Horner wears a mask as he deals with flu patients at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, U.S., January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A doctor hold a syringe as part of the start of the seasonal influenza vaccination campaign in Nice, France October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Boxes of vaccines against the flu are seen as part of the start of the seasonal influenza vaccination campaign in Nice, France October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
PORTLAND, ME - DECEMBER 29: Troy Ali, 21 of Portland receives a flu shot from Greater Portland Health medical assistant Anissa Millette at the clinic in Franklin Towers on Cumberland Ave on Friday, December 29, 2017. (Staff Photo by Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22: Vials of the Fluvirin influenza vaccine are displayed at a Walgreens phramacy on January 22, 2018 in San Francisco, California. A strong strain of H3N2 influenza has claimed the lives of 74 Californians under the age of 65 since the flu season began in October of last year. People are being encouraged to get flu shots even through the vaccine has been only 30% effective in combating the influenza. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22: A sign advertising flu shots is displayed at a Walgreens phramacy on January 22, 2018 in San Francisco, California. A strong strain of H3N2 influenza has claimed the lives of 74 Californians under the age of 65 since the flu season began in October of last year. People are being encouraged to get flu shots even through the vaccine has been only 30% effective in combating the influenza. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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