Most kids get the flu -- a respiratory infection caused by a virus -- at some point. Usually they recover just fine. But in some cases, the flu can lead to more serious illnesses.
Call Doctor If Your Child:
- Is younger than 2
- Isn't feeding well and is often cranky and tired
- Is vomiting and has diarrhea, or is dehydrated
- Has a fever that lasts more than 3 to 4 days
- Has a cough that doesn't go away
- Has problems breathing
- Has a stiff neck
- Has flu symptoms and a fever that go away and return
- Is not more comfortable or alert once the fever goes down
- Doesn't wet diapers or hasn't urinated within 8 hours
- Cries without tears
- Has a rash
1. Give Fluids and Rest
- Give a baby plenty of breast milk or formula. Try to feed more frequently, giving smaller amounts more frequently. Pedialyte may be used if your baby is not taking milk.
- Serve an older child plenty of fluids such as water and juice, oral electrolyte solution, or ice pops. Don't give any liquids that have caffeine.
- Let the child rest.
- Pay attention to how often the child urinates to watch for dehydration.
2. Treat Congestion and Symptoms
- Use a humidifier in the child's bedroom to keep it moist to ease a stuffy nose.
- Remove mucus from the child's nose with a bulb syringe or ask an older child to blow it out. You can thin mucus with saline nasal spray and reduce nasal congestion with saline nasal gel.
- Give the child a warm bath. Dress him in light clothing and keep his room cool.
- Give children's formula acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to relieve muscle aches, a headache, fever, and sore throat. Do not give aspirin because of the danger of Reye's syndrome.
- Don't give a child under 6 years old cold or cough medicine unless discussed with your doctor.
3. Prevent Flu
- Make sure all children older than 6 months of age plus all adults they come in contact with get a flu vaccine every year.