The flu (influenza) is caused by a virus. The virus infects the nose, throat, and air passages to the lungs. Your child will probably have a runny nose, sore throat, and cough. Your child may have more muscle pain, headache, fever, and chills than if he had a cold. Flu gets spread when people sneeze, cough, or touch something that a sick person touched. If your child is between 6 months and 18 years old, he should get a flu shot.
How can I take care of my child?
Fever or aches.
Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 6 hours or ibuprofen (Advil) every 8Â hours for discomfort or fever over 102Â°F (39Â°C).
Do not give your child aspirin.
Cough or hoarseness.
Give cough drops to your child if he is older than 6 years old. If your child is over 1 year old, you can give him honey (1/2 to 1 teaspoon as needed). Never give honey to babies. If you do not have honey, use corn syrup.
Give hard candy to children over 6 years old. Warm chicken broth may also help children over 1Â year old.
Put warm-water or saline nose drops into your child’s nose. Then have the child blow his nose or you can use a suction bulb. This will open most blocked noses.
Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids.
These medicines are only prescribed for children at high risk for getting very sick. Not for healthy children.
Call your child’s doctor right away if:
Your child has trouble breathing.
Your child starts to act very sick.
Call your child’s doctor during office hours if:
Your child has other problems such as an earache, sinus pain or pressure, or a fever lasting over 3Â days.
You have other questions or concerns.
Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of â€œMy Child Is Sick,â€ American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2014-06-11 Last reviewed: 2014-06-10
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.