Skip to content

    First Aid & Emergencies

    Font Size

    Influenza (Children)

    Call 911 if your child:

    • Has a seizure

    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.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on September 10, 2015

    First Aid A-Z

    • There are no topics that begin with 'O'
    • There are no topics that begin with 'Q'
    • There are no topics that begin with 'U'
    • There are no topics that begin with 'X'
    • There are no topics that begin with 'Y'
    • There are no topics that begin with 'Z'

    Today on WebMD

    blue flames
    The right way to treat them.
    Wound paste into a cross
    8 essentials for car or purse.
    cpr demonstration
    4 steps for adults.
    bagged salad
    Learn when to call a doctor.
    sniffling child
    wound care true or false
    caring for wounds
    Harvest mite

    Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

    It's nothing to sneeze at.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    WebMD the app

    Get first aid information. Whenever. Wherever... with your iPhone, iPad or Android.

    Find Out More