Colds and Flu - what to do if your child is sick | Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai Tokerau

Colds and Flu - what to do if your child is sick

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Fatigue/tiredness
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.

  • Wash and dry hands thoroughly and often, to stop the spread of illness.

  • Call your doctor to make an appointment, rather than just turning up.

  • Stay at home if you are unwell, keep children at home if they are unwell.

What to do

Most children fight off the infection by themselves and fever is a normal part of this.

If your child is miserable due to fever or aches and pains, you can give paracetamol to make them more comfortable. Follow the dosage instructions on the bottle. It is dangerous to give more than the recommended dose.

Cough and runny or stuffy nose by themselves are not serious.

Give your child regular fluids, and keep them at home and resting.  Keep them away from others members of the household until they are well to stop spread, especially babies who are more vulnerable to certain cold viruses.

See your doctor if your child has flu-like symptoms and:

  • is less than 3 months old with a fever
  • has a long-lasting (chronic) condition such as heart disease, cysticfibrosis or other lung condition, asthma, diabetes, an organ transplant, cancer or leukaemia
  • is 3 years or older, has a sore throat and is Māori or Pacific. Theyneed a swab for strep throat and treatment if positive
  • doesn't seem to be improving.

See your doctor URGENTLY if your child of any age:

  • is drinking less than half of their normal breastmilk or other fluid
  • is having fewer than 4 wet nappies in 24 hours
  • is severely irritable and is not wanting to be held
  • has trouble breathing, has noisy breathing or is breathing fast
  • looks very unwell and you are concerned
  • has tummy pain, vomiting or diarrhoea and seems sicker than you would expect.

Dial 111 for URGENT medical help if your child:

  • has blue lips and tongue
  • has severe difficulty breathing
  • has any episodes of irregular or stopping breathing
  • has a worrying rash especially one that does not go away when you press on it
  • is unconscious or you can't wake them up properly.

Your child needs a COVID-19 test if they:

  • have they have flu like symptoms. 
  • If you are confused about whether they need a COVID-19 test call COVID-19 Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 
  • Visit here for information on testing centres. 
  • COVID-19 testing is also available – for FREE – at your General Practice or Hauora Clinic. You will need to call ahead for an appointment 
  • More information is available here
For more advice

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