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    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

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