Colds, the Flu, and Other Infections

This advice is for children over 6 months old. If your baby is less than 6 months old, call your doctor.


Colds have many symptoms all at the same time:

What to Do?

Make sure your child gets lots of rest and drinks plenty of liquids. Anitbiotics won't help. Treat the symptoms with over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If the cold isn't gone in 7 days, call the doctor for an appointment.

The Flu

The flu has the same symptoms as colds, but worse – higher fevers (102°-104°F), worse body aches.

What to Do?

If your child might have the flu, call your doctor for an appointment. If taken early, anti-flu drugs may help. To prevent flu each year, get your child a flu shot, especially if your child has special health care needs.

Other Infections

Some infections come with a high fever (103°-104°F) and have symptoms in only one spot. For instance, strep throat is a very sore throat without a runny nose or dry cough. A sinus infection is a very stuffy nose with facial pain. Pneumonia comes with a deep, wet cough.

What to Do?

Call your doctor for an appointment. Antibiotics can help some infections. Make sure your child gets lots of rest and clear liquids.

The Right Call Every Time. Your Medical Home. Remember you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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