Flu Symptoms: What to Do and When to Call the Doctor

child with the flu

Like any other time when temperatures start to lower, and children are inside, cold and flu season is inevitable. Knowing just when the cold season starts is helpful, but that doesn’t change the fact that seeing your little one struggling with a cough and a stuffy nose is hard. Children under the age of five, especially those under the age of two, are at exceptionally high risk during cold and flu season. However, there are a couple of steps you can take that will help your child feel better while they wait for their immune system to fight back.

Recognizing Flu Symptoms

There are a few common signs of a cold or flu that are clear enough to recognize at home. Typically, these symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Breathing through their mouth
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Fatigue and overall weakness
  • Feeling better, but then having symptoms come back

If you notice your child having at least a few of these symptoms, you can try treating them at home with a few simple steps.

How to Treat my Child’s Flu at Home

You can easily treat your child’s flu symptoms at home with R&R (Rest and Respite). However, there are some things you can do to ease their symptoms naturally.

Rest – This is by far the most important part of treating your child’s flu at home. Rest allows their body to rest and heal. If your child is bored, they will be more likely to get up and play. This can actually cause their symptoms to get worse. Keeping them in a quiet, dark room is best.

Respite – This is the second part of the protocol that helps to treat your child’s flu. You can provide respite by taking care of them as much as possible. If you are able to take on the responsibility of caring for them full time, even better. You can also provide respite by taking turns with someone else or by calling in sick at work and being there with them.

When Should You See a Doctor?

It is essential to know when to see a doctor. If your child is having trouble breathing, eating, or swallowing, they might have a bacterial infection. Additionally, if they have a high fever, it could signify that they are experiencing complications from the flu. If your child is an infant, you should always see the doctor if a fever persists for more than 24 hours. This can be especially dangerous for babies, as their immune system is not as developed as toddlers or older children.

There are a couple of times where it is crucial to see a doctor for treating your child’s flu at home. If you see any signs of a bacterial infection or if your child is vomiting, it is important to see a doctor right away.

Additionally, if you see blood in your child’s mucus, they need to be seen by a doctor. This is especially important if they are coughing up blood. You should also see the doctor if your child is having trouble breathing.


It is essential to know when flu season starts and what you should do to treat your child’s flu at home. It is also helpful to know when you should take your child to see the doctor. Making sure you take the proper steps while they are at home can help them feel better and also decrease their risk of developing long-lasting complications.

Unlike emergency rooms or hospitals, Your Kid’s Urgent Care provides after-hours medical care in a calm and soothing environment. We provide exceptional care to infants, children, and adolescents when their primary care physician’s office may be closed or unavailable. Whenever you need flu shots, telemedicine, and children’s urgent care, our care centers are always available to serve you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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