Children's Hospital Colorado

Flu (Seasonal Influenza) in Kids

Kids aren’t just mini adults. In fact, they’re incredibly different. That’s why they need incredibly different care.

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Children's Hospital Colorado wants to help you protect your children and family from the flu. Educate yourself and encourage friends and family to understand the latest information on the flu, which is especially important during the coronavirus pandemic.

What is the flu?

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract. The flu is often confused with the common cold, but flu symptoms tend to develop quickly and are usually more severe than the typical sneezing and congestion of a cold.

What are symptoms of the flu?

Flu symptoms can include:

  • High fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Vomiting (most common in young children)

Learn more about the flu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How will the coronavirus impact flu season?

While it is hard to know how bad flu season will be, it is likely that the flu virus and SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) are going to be spreading at the same time this flu season.

Some early studies suggest that getting infected with both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time may be more serious. For these reasons, getting a flu vaccine will be more important now than ever.

Seasonal influenza refers to many different strains of an influenza virus. Flu A and Flu B are the strains that infect humans. The viruses change each year, and for that reason the flu vaccines change to cover those strains that are predicted to be the main strains circulating for that season. All flu shots will contain either three or four strains.

Can you tell the difference between the flu and the coronavirus?

Symptoms of the flu can be very similar to COVID-19, and it may not be possible to tell the difference between the two. It is worth discussing with your doctor whether your child will need testing for COVID-19, or both flu and COVID-19.

Read more about COVID versus flu symptoms.

Click to expand the accordions below to learn more about this year’s flu.

Next steps

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Keeping you safe, wherever you are

We're here when you need us with the same safe, high-quality care we've always offered, even during the pandemic. Now, in many cases, you can get that care without even leaving home because we offer virtual visits across every one of our specialties.

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Get to know our pediatric experts.

Lonni Williams, CPNP-AC/PC

Lonni Williams, CPNP-AC/PC

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Maureen Lenssen, CPNP-PC

Maureen Lenssen, CPNP-PC

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Patient ratings and reviews are not available Why?

Laura DeClaire-Curnow, CPNP-PC

Laura DeClaire-Curnow, CPNP-PC

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Patient ratings and reviews are not available Why?

Tai Lockspeiser, MD

Tai Lockspeiser, MD

Pediatrics