3 Immediate Steps to Take When Your Child has Flu Symptoms

Kenneth Knowles, MD
Medically reviewed by Kenneth Knowles, MDDecember 9th, 2019
flu symptoms blog

With flu season right around the corner, it’s time to schedule your children for their flu shot and remind them of the importance of handwashing. But no matter how proactive you may be, it’s still possible that your little one will come down with the flu. After all, this is a highly contagious disease. So what should you do if you suspect your little one has flu symptoms?

Keep Them Home

First, because of how highly contagious the flu can be, it’s important to keep your kids home from school and other activities if they’ve fallen ill. If you’re unsure whether the symptoms you’re seeing are the flu or just a common cold, it’s still a good idea to keep your kiddo home until you’re sure. Considering how quickly the flu tends to spread through schools, this is certainly a case of “better safe than sorry”.

For most kids, the flu lasts about five days or less. If there are secondary complications, those will extend the period of illness. When your little one first starts to feel better, it may be tempting to send them back to school straight away. But as long as you’re still seeing symptoms, your child is probably still contagious. It’s usually best to wait until they have a full day with no illness before resuming the normal routine.

Manage Symptoms

When your child is sick, it’s important to encourage plenty of rest. Rest and sleep allow the body to heal itself. The quickest way for them to get better is to make sure they’re getting plenty of sleep!

Additionally, many of the symptoms of flu can cause your body to lose crucial moisture, so offer plenty of fluids. If you’re concerned about dehydration, consider offering an electrolyte drink like Pedialyte to help replenish their system. It’s also a good idea to use a cool mist humidifier in the child’s room overnight, which makes dry air easier to breathe.

For fever or aches and pains, acetaminophen such as Children’s Tylenol is an excellent over-the-counter choice. For those over 6 months of age, ibuprofen (such as Children’s Advil or Motrin) can be used. Aspirin is not recommended for children due to the possibility of developing Reye’s syndrome.

Get Care Delivered to Your Home

Of course, it’s always a good idea to seek help from the professionals when you’re concerned about your child’s health. The good news is that you can get medical treatment from the comfort of home.

DispatchHealth travels so the flu doesn’t. With a simple call to 1-866-FLU-CREW, two qualified medical professionals, also known as the season’s “Traveling Flu Crew” are sent to a person’s home, office or place of need with all the tools and equipment needed to treat complex cases. Each medical team consists of either a physician assistant or nurse practitioner, along with a DispatchHealth medical technician (DHMT) and also an on-call physician. They can do rapid infectious disease testing to determine what bug is troubling your little one, administer breathing treatments or IV fluids if needed, and offer antiviral medications if indicated to help shorten the duration of the sickness.


These caring medical professionals are a great option for busy families with sick kids. They can take the time to really understand the situation, offer practical and helpful advice, and thoroughly answer any questions you may have. And since they accept most health insurance, a house call from DispatchHealth is surprisingly affordable. A visit with DispatchHealth typically costs one-tenth of the price of a visit to the ER and patients pay an average of $5-$50 depending on their insurance plan.

So the next time a family member gets sick, skip the waiting room and get diagnosed and treated at home!


DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.

Sources referenced in this article:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/school/parents-childcare-k-12-students.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/acip/clinical.htm
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/general/influenza_flu_homecare_guide.pdf
  5. https://medlineplus.gov/reyesyndrome.html
The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.

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