How to Tell if Your Child Has the Flu

Knowing if your child has the flu can be difficult when its symptoms resemble many other illnesses. But being able to pinpoint the flu when you spot it in your kids can help you take care of them in the way that they need. By doing so, you can help prevent other, more dangerous illnesses that children are prone to when flu symptoms are left unchecked.

Here are some symptoms to watch for and steps to take when your child is infected with an influenza virus.

Flu Symptoms in Children

  • Sudden Fever and Fatigue
    A sudden high fever and a child’s abrupt lack of energy are good indicators that your child may have the flu. A cold, on the other hand, generally comes more gradually. Children with cold symptoms will usually experience a runny nose and cough for about 2-3 days, and may not have a fever at all.
  • Chills and Aches
    Your child may also feel achy or have chills if they are infected with a flu virus. Again, these signs will come suddenly and may make your child feel uncomfortable, fussy and too weak or tired to get out of bed.
  • Vomiting
    Unlike adults, other common flu symptoms in children are stomach pain and vomiting. These symptoms may convince parents that their children just have a stomach ache. But if vomiting occurs alongside these other symptoms, it’s likely the flu.
  • Sore Throat and Coughing
    Like with cold symptoms, your child may also have a sore throat and cough if they have the flu. A dry cough without much mucus can especially be a sign of the flu.

What to Do

If your child is showing the above signs of the flu, what then?

The most important thing you can do is to keep your children well-hydrated and well-rested. It is also important to manage their fever. Children’s Tylenol or another acetaminophen are good fever reducers, as is children’s ibuprofen if your children are more than 6 months old.

To help prevent the flu virus from spreading, keep your kids home when flu symptoms pop up. Even after their symptoms go away, the flu virus can still be contagious, sometimes up to two weeks.

When to See a Physician

If your child’s symptoms aren’t getting any better after 3-4 days, go see a physician. The flu can be dangerous for children when it weakens their immune system and allows for more viral infections such as pneumonia. Pneumonia and this weakened immune system can make patients prone to sepsis, another dangerous condition characterized by worsened, flu-like symptoms. See your doctor if your child’s fever continues or if they are having difficulty breathing, are unresponsive or are having trouble staying hydrated.

The best way to prevent the flu in your home is for every family member to get their flu shots. Flu vaccines not only help keep your loved ones from being infected with types of the flu virus. They also help to minimize its symptoms if they are infected.

For families in St George UT, come to Callahan Clinic to get your flu shot. Our family medical practice also provides other child immunizations and preventative care to help keep your family healthy all year long. Schedule an appointment today for personalized and compassionate care from our team of family practice doctors.