Colds and flu in children
Does my child have a cold or is it ‘flu?
Influenza is an illness capable of affecting the entire respiratory tract from the nose and throat down to the bronchial tubes and lungs. A typical case of flu in older children and teenagers consists of a sudden onset of chills and fever, headache, body aches, sore throat and a dry hacking cough.
Pre-school children tend to have an illness more like a severe cold, with high fever, runny nose and cough, typically accompanied by irritability and poor appetite. Some infants develop a hoarse cry and a "barking" cough (croup). Diarrhoea and vomiting may also occur.
Flu usually takes away a child's appetite, so don't expect them to eat much for the first few days. Encourage them to drink more fluids, especially when fever is present, but forcing fluids is unnecessary. Active play can make a cough worse.
Consult your doctor if:
You can ask for an appointment with either our doctors or our paediatrician. The doctor can assess whether your child is fit to travel. If they suffer from frequent, recurring, colds the doctor can investigate for any other underlying cause. The doctor can recommend homeopathic options on request. We can also provide flu vaccinations.
you feel frightened or worried about your child's illness
- your child has: difficulty breathing, a bluish tinge to the lips; vomiting that continues for several hours; severe lethargy
- your child complains of an earache or if an infant pulls at their ears, becomes increasingly cranky or keeps waking at night; develops a deep cough with lots of mucus; has a fever of over 37.8 C lasting more than 4 days (check fever info).