First Aid: The Flu
The flu (influenza) is a viral infection that usually starts out like a cold, but can cause a more serious illness. Most kids who get the flu get over the infection without any problems. Flu viruses usually cause the most illness during the colder months of the year.
Signs and Symptoms
- a fever that comes on suddenly
- muscle aches
- loss of appetite
- sore throat
- runny nose
- nausea or vomiting
- ear pain
What to Do
If Your Child Has Flu Symptoms:
- Let your child rest as much as needed.
- Keep your child hydrated with plenty of liquids.
- Relieve symptoms with:
Never give aspirin to a child with the flu. Don't give cough or cold medicine to children under 6 years old (call the doctor first for older kids).
Call your doctor if you have any questions, or if your child has an underlying health condition.
Get Medical Care if Your Child Has:
- symptoms that get worse
- a severe cough
- trouble breathing
- a fever and is 3 months of age or younger
- a fever that lasts for 5 or more days
- a stiff neck
- a headache that doesn't go away after acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Make sure your kids get the flu vaccine each year.
- Try to avoid large crowds during flu season.
- Wash hands well and often.
- Wearing masks in public is recommended for all children age 2 and up during the coronavirus pandemic. This can also help stop the spread of flu.
- Flu Center
- How Do I Know Which Vaccines My Kids Need?
- How Many Doses of Flu Vaccine Does My Child Need?
- Your Child's Immunizations: Influenza Vaccine (Flu Shot)
- Immunization Schedule
- Tips for Treating the Flu
- Too Late for the Flu Vaccine?
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995- KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.