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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What is the flu?

Influenza, commonly called the flu, is a highly contagious respiratory virus. Because of the similarity in symptoms, the flu is sometimes confused with the common cold. Flu symptoms tend to develop quickly and are typically more severe than a cold.

Who gets the flu?

Anyone can get the flu. For most people, the flu is mild and they can treat themselves at home. Young children, however, are at higher risk of severe flu symptoms. In some cases, children with the flu may need to go the hospital.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children under 5 are most vulnerable to complications from the flu. Babies less than 6 months old have the highest risk of being hospitalized with the flu.

What causes the flu?

Influenza viruses are very contagious and can pass easily between people. The germs can spread in tiny droplets of fluid from an infected person's nose and mouth. When a child sneezes, coughs, laughs, sings or yells, these droplets spread through the air. The germs can also spread when you touch a surface an infected person has touched such as toys, furniture, doorknobs, faucets and toilet handles.

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Get to know our pediatric experts.

Jennifer Rosen, CPNP-PC

Jennifer Rosen, CPNP-PC

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner


Laura DeClaire-Curnow, CPNP-PC

Laura DeClaire-Curnow, CPNP-PC

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner