Flu-Like Symptoms in Children


Your child is sick. Do they have a common cold? Or could it be something more serious, like the flu? Here are some symptoms to watch out for, and when to get medical care.

What's the difference?

First, what's the difference between a cold and the flu? Well, they're both caused by viruses. And they have many similar symptoms. With either, your child could have a cough, a sore throat, and a runny or stuffy nose. But the symptoms of a flu tend to be worse than those of a cold. With the flu, your child may have symptoms like body aches, headaches and fatigue. They may have a fever or chills. And they may have diarrhea and vomiting.

Home care

Usually, a child who has flu-like symptoms can be cared for at home. Make sure they get fluids and plenty of rest. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can reduce fever. And if the flu is diagnosed early enough, a prescription medicine may help.

Call your doctor

Sometimes, home care isn't enough. So watch for danger signs. Is your child listless, tired or irritable? Have they stopped drinking or peeing? Are they not acting like themselves? Are they having trouble breathing? Is their skin turning a bluish color? Do they seem confused or dizzy? Are they vomiting a lot? These are signs that your child needs immediate medical care. Call your doctor. Your doctor will create a plan that's right for you.