Skip to main content

Influenza in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is influenza?

Influenza (the flu) is an infection caused by the influenza virus. The virus spreads through direct contact with someone who has the flu. For example, a person with the virus on his or her hands can spread it by shaking hands with someone. Your child may be able to spread the flu to others for 1 week or longer after signs or symptoms appear.

What are the signs and symptoms of the flu?

Severe symptoms are more likely in children younger than 5 years. They are also more likely in children who have heart or lung disease, or a weak immune system. Signs and symptoms include the following:

How is the flu diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will examine your child. Tell the provider if your child has health problems such as epilepsy or asthma. Tell the provider if your child has traveled recently or been around anyone who is sick. A sample of fluid may be collected from your child's nose or throat to be tested for the flu virus.

How is the flu treated?

Most healthy children get better within a week. Your child may need any of the following:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

How can I manage my child's symptoms?

What can I do to prevent the spread of germs?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright Merative 2024 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.