What are flu symptoms in children?
The symptoms of flu in children are more severe than symptoms of a childhood cold. Symptoms of flu in children start abruptly and usually cause kids to feel the worse during the first two or three days of onset. Flu symptoms in children may include:
A high-grade fever up to 104 degrees F
Chills and shakes with the fever
Headache and body aches
Dry, hacking cough
Vomiting and belly pain
Can there be complications of flu in children?
Some complications of flu in children may include a sinus infection, ear infection, or pneumonia. Call your pediatrician if your child's fever lasts more than three days or if your child complains of trouble breathing, ear pain, congestion in the nose or head, persistent cough, or he seems to be getting worse. Young children under age 2 -- even healthy children -- are more likely than older children to be hospitalized from the complications of flu.
What's the best way to treat flu symptoms in children?
The FDA and manufacturers now say that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be given to children under age 4, and the American Academy of Pediatricians warns that they can cause adverse effects in children under age 6. Talk with your doctor before giving your child an over-the-counter cold or flu medicine.
In children with congestion, you may also spray three drops of saline nasal spray into each nostril, to help them “blow out” mucous. Some children may be at increased risk for serious complications from flu. Talk to your health care provider early if you have concerns, if your child is younger than age 5 or has a chronic health condition such as asthma or other lung disease, heart condition, or diabetes.
Should I take a child with flu symptoms to the hospital?
If your child has any one of the following signs, immediate emergency care is required.
The child has difficulty breathing.
The skin color appears bluish or gray.
The child appears sicker than in any previous episode of illness. The child may not be responding normally. For example, the child does not cry when expected or make good eye contact with the mother, or the child is listless or lethargic.
The child is not drinking fluids well or is showing signs of dehydration. Common signs of dehydration include absence of tears with crying, decrease in amount of urine (dry diapers), irritability or decreased energy.
A seizure occurs.