Your child has caught the flu and now you must take care of them. Unfortunately, even if you've had a flu shot, it's still possible to get the flu. Here's a guide on the next steps you can take, including options for flu treatment. If you're not sure if it's a cold or flu, use the "Is it a cold or the flu?" tool to help you tell the difference.
- Pick up your child from school or daycare as soon as you can. Sick children (and parents!) should stay home to prevent spreading the flu to other people. And picking them up sooner means that they get to the comforts of home - and of you - faster. Keep your child at home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.
- Take your child to see the doctor as soon as possible, when symptoms first appear. Talk to your child's doctor about what flu treatment options are available for your child. For example, antiviral medications are available. If taken within 48 hours of the start of flu symptoms, antivirals may reduce the length of flu illness by about 1 or 2 days. Young children and children with medical conditions are at risk for flu complications, so it's important to treat them as soon as possible. Read more about children and the flu. If your child's doctor is unavailable, you can try going to another doctor. Use the clinic locator to help you find a doctor near you.
- Give your child appropriate medication for their symptoms, such as a pain reliever for body aches and fever. Keep in mind that these medications treat the symptoms of flu, not the flu itself. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for the appropriate medication and dosage for your child.
- Make sure your child drinks lots of fluids to stay hydrated. Keep a glass of water by their bed to remind them to drink when you're not around.
- Keep siblings and other household members away from your sick child so the flu doesn't spread to everyone in the house. Ask your doctor about ways to help prevent the flu infection if someone in the house is infected with the flu.
- Let your child get plenty of rest. Make sure they're comfortable - having a favourite toy nearby may help. Reassure your child that they'll get better soon.
- Make sure you, as the caregiver, wash your hands frequently with soap and water to help prevent spreading the flu.