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Flu symptoms in toddlers and young children: When to seek medical advice

Flu symptoms make a person feel unwell and exhausted, often needing rest and time off work.

Adults will recognise the symptoms, but children won't, and may have trouble explaining why they feel so unwell.

Flu symptoms to watch for in children include:

When to seek urgent medical advice

  • The child has difficulty breathing and does not improve even after nasal suctioning and cleaning.
  • The child appears sicker than any previous episode of illness. The child may not be responding normally. For example, the child does not cry when expected or make good eye contact with the parent, or the child is listless or lethargic.
  • The child is not drinking fluids well or is showing signs of dehydration. Common signs of dehydration include absence of tears with crying, decrease in amount of urine (dry nappies), dry mucus membranes (lips, tongue, eyes), and dough-like skin that fails to snap back flat when pinched.
  • A fever that does not get better with appropriate treatment
  • A seizure occurs
  • You are concerned about your child or unsure about what to do


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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on December 20, 2017

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