Does my child need to be tested for the flu?
The classic symptoms of the flu are fever with a cough and sore throat. If your child has flu symptoms, and the flu is widespread in your community, they probably have it. Your child doesn't need any special tests. Currently, we only test patients who need hospitalization.
If your child has a sore throat with a fever and doesn't develop a cough, they may have strep throat.
My child hurts everywhere. Is that serious?
The flu can cause soreness everywhere: headache, back pain, chest pain and leg pain. To soothe sore muscles, give ibuprofen every 6 hours, up to 4 times a day as needed. To prevent stomach irritation, always have your child eat some food along with their medication. If pain is severe and lasts more than 90 minutes after taking ibuprofen, you should call your doctor.
Does my child need to see a doctor for the flu?
For serious symptoms such as trouble breathing, rapid breathing or dehydration, bring your child to the doctor immediately. For non-urgent symptoms such as an earache or sinus pain, go to the doctor within 24 hours. Most healthy children with the flu don't develop any of these complications and you can easily treat them at home.
Does my child need Tamiflu?
The CDC recommends Tamiflu (an antiviral drug) for anyone who develops severe symptoms and for high-risk children with any flu symptoms. High-risk children are those with underlying chronic health problems or healthy children under 2 years old.
Tamiflu is not helpful if more than 48 hours have passed since the start of the flu symptoms, unless your child is hospitalized or has high-risk medical conditions. If your child is otherwise healthy and over age 2, they should recover well without Tamiflu.
How should I treat a fever?
Fevers are not harmful and do not need treatment. In fact, they turn on the body's immune system and help fight infections. But if your child is not feeling well while they have a fever, you can use either Tylenol or ibuprofen to help relieve symptoms.
H2: It's been three days, so why does my child still have a fever?
Fever caused by the flu viruses normally lasts two or three days. If the fever lasts more than three days (72 hours), your child may need to see a doctor. More importantly, if the fever goes away for more than 24 hours and then returns, bring your child to the doctor. They may have a secondary bacterial infection, such as an ear infection.
Can I alternate Tylenol and ibuprofen to treat flu symptoms?
It's rarely necessary to rotate these two medicines, and we don't recommend it without a doctor’s direction. If your child's doctor does recommend it, we suggest you only rotate the medicines for fevers over 104˚F that do not come down 2 degrees with one medicine alone.
To safely alternate fever medication, get proper dosing information from your doctor or pharmacist.
Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 4 hours, and alternate with ibuprofen every 6 hours. To avoid the risk of overdose, do not alternate medicines for more than 24 hours.
Do not give aspirin if your child or teen has the flu. Using aspirin is linked to developing a condition called Reye’s syndrome — a rare disease that can damage the brain and liver.
What should I do if my child is vomiting?
Have your child drink small amounts of clear fluids every 5 to 10 minutes. If your child becomes dehydrated, or if vomiting without diarrhea lasts more than 48 hours, your child should see a doctor. If your child is taking Tamiflu (known to cause nausea and vomiting), try to hide the bitter flavor in foods, such as chocolate syrup. If vomiting continues, your doctor may ask you to stop the Tamiflu.