Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention


The flu is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. It can be mild or severe, and in some extreme cases it can lead to death. The flu can be especially dangerous for those with chronic illnesses or a weakened immune system. Symptoms of the flu can include:

  • Chills
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Fever (100.4 or higher)
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue

How to treat the flu

If you suspect your child has the flu, your first step should be to contact your child's pediatrician. Because the flu is a virus, it needs to run its course, which means your child will need lots of rest at home.

To treat the flu at home, you can:

  • Reduce fever and ease body aches with children's ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Advil or Tylenol). Aspirin and aspirin-containing products (such as Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate, and Alka-Seltzer, among others) should not be given to children or adolescents who have flu-like symptoms, unless instructed by a physician to be given for other medical reasons.
  • Offer plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration. Soft fruits, blended frozen juice drinks and ice pops can be given if your child gets tired of water.
  • Encourage rest and couch time.
  • Use a humidifier in your child's room to help break up nasal and chest congestion.

Staying flu-free this season

You can help keep your family well by steering clear of other people who have the virus, encouraging frequent hand-washing, keeping noses and mouths covered when coughing or sneezing, and making sure your family members are up to date on their vaccinations. Keeping hard surfaces clean can also help prevent the spread of flu germs.

Give your child’s immune system a boost with plenty of sleep and exercise and a nutrient-rich diet full of flu-fighting fruits, vegetables and protein.

Take Action

Get vaccinated

The flu is common but often unpredictable, and one of the best ways to keep your family healthy is to stay up to date on your annual flu vaccinations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends the vaccine for children 6 months and older. It takes around two weeks after receiving the vaccine to build up protective antibodies that fight the virus, so it's important to get immunized early in the season—ideally no later than October. There are a lot of misconceptions about the flu vaccine, so make sure you know the difference between the myths and the facts.

Read the full recommendations for the flu vaccine by the CDC

Find facilities that offer the flu vaccine using the Healthmap Vaccine Finder.

Medication safety

To treat flu symptoms such as fever and body aches, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used.Do not use aspirin, aspirin-containing products, or cough and cold medicines. Be mindful of using other over-the-counter medicines that also contain acetaminophen, as too much can be fatal.

Practice medication safety when treating your child's flu symptoms

Urgent Care Center and Emergency Department Wait Times

When your child has flu-like symptoms that need medical attention and his pediatrician isn’t available, our Urgent Care Centers and Emergency Departments are here for you. We provide wait times for our Urgent Care Centers to help you choose the Children's Urgent Care Center location and time of day that works best for your family.

View our wait times

When deciding which center to visit, consider both driving times and wait times. The closest center to you may have a longer wait time than others. No appointment is necessary.

If a wait time is listed as "unavailable," the center is open and we are accepting walk-in patients. Wait times are updated every minute and are estimates based on the average time it takes for a patient to be placed in an exam room. Wait times begin 30 minutes after we open and stop 15 minutes before we close.

In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away.

Save your spot

We know the last place you want to be with a sick child is in a waiting room. To help you and your family spend less time waiting we have online scheduling at all of our pediatric Urgent Care Center locations. This allows you to select a time that you would like to come to the Urgent Care Center. Once at the center, you will begin the check-in process. A reserved slot is not a set appointment, and you may have to wait after you come into the center. Patients who arrive with a more serious condition or illness may be seen before you.

To save your spot, follow these steps:

Reserving your spot

To reserve your spot, follow these steps:

We accept walk-in patients during business hours at all of our Urgent Care Centers. The best time to bring your child to one of our Urgent Care Centers is during the middle of the day. We are generally busiest in the morning, late afternoon and evening.

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