Flu Symptoms and Medication Management

Most flu infections don’t require a visit to the pediatrician, which is good news. Oftentimes, you can safely and effectively treat your child’s flu symptoms at home. But it’s important to know that not all medications should be given to treat the flu. Understanding which safe medicines to give your child and the appropriate dosage can prevent accidental overdose and other issues.

How Do I Know if it’s the Flu?

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 people who have a chronic illness or a weakened immune system.

Common flu symptoms can include:

  • Chills
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue

Should I take my child to the doctor for flu symptoms?

If you think your child has flu symptoms and are wondering whether you should seek medical care, contact your child’s pediatrician. Many pediatricians also offer after-hours care during flu season.

Preventing and Treating the Flu

How can I prevent the flu?

The flu is common but often unpredictable. The best way to keep your family healthy is to stay up to date on your annual flu vaccinations.

Contact your child's pediatrician or find a facility near you that offers the flu vaccine using the Healthmap Vaccine Finder.

You can also help keep your family well by:

  • Staying away from others with fever, cough or runny nose.
  • Encouraging frequent hand-washing.
  • Keeping noses and mouths covered when coughing or sneezing.
  • Making sure your family members are up to date on their vaccinations.
  • Keeping hard surfaces clean to help prevent the spread of germs.
  • Giving your child’s immune system a boost with plenty of sleep, exercise and a nutrient-rich diet full of flu-fighting fruits, vegetables and protein.

Remember, it’s never too late to get a flu shot. 

How can I treat the flu?

If you suspect your child has the flu, provide them with plenty of fluids and 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) shouldn’t be given to children or adolescents who have flu-like symptoms, unless instructed by a physician to be given for other medical reasons.
    • Practice 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 more than one over-the-counter medicine that contains acetaminophen, as too much can be fatal.
  • Offer plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration. Soft fruits, blended frozen juice drinks and ice pops can help keep your child hydrated.
  • Encourage bed rest.

Urgent Care Wait Times

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.

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

*If wait time is listed as "unavailable," the center is open and we can accept 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.