Flu Symptoms in Children: How to Tell If Your Child Has the Flu

November 4, 2016
Flu Symptoms in Children

For most healthy people, the flu causes a relatively brief illness that resolves without the need for medical assistance. For very young children with developing immune systems, however, the flu can be especially dangerous. To protect your child from potential complications, learn how to identify the most common flu symptoms in children.
Telltale Signs
It's not always easy for parents to differentiate a flu infection from the common cold. In most cases, however, children will show some or all of the following:

  • A high fever up to 104 degrees F
  • Fatigue
  • Chills and shakes
  • Muscle aches
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting and belly pain
  • Diarrhea

When to See a Doctor
Sometimes, the flu can cause serious complications that require medical intervention. If your child shows any of the following, visit your pediatrician.

  • A persistent fever
  • A fever exceeding 104 degrees F
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chest pain
  • Dehydration
  • Severe cough

While most children get over the flu without any problems, some are at a higher risk of complications. These include children with existing health problems, such as asthma and any preexisting condition that may affect the immune system. Children under the age of five are also more prone to complications, including bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infections and hospitalization.
Preventing the Flu
A seasonal flu vaccine can reduce your child's risk of contracting the flu, especially if he or she is in school or daycare. Be sure to visit your pediatrician before flu season to get an updated immunization. Since each seasonal vaccine is formulated to protect against last season's most prevalent strain, it's important to get a new shot each year.

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