Talk to your doctor early if you are worried about your child’s illness.

If your child is 5 years or older and does not have other health problems and gets flu-like symptoms, including a fever and/or cough, consult your doctor as needed and make sure your child gets plenty of rest and drinks enough fluids.

If your child is younger than 5 years (and especially younger than 2 years) or of any age with a pre-existing health condition (like asthma, a neurological condition, a heart condition or diabetes) and develops flu-like symptoms, they may be at risk for serious complications from the flu. Ask your GP if your child should be examined.

What if my child seems very sick?

Sometimes even children who have always been healthy before can get a severe case of flu.

Take your child to a doctor right away or call for an ambulance if your child has any of the warning signs:

  • fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • bluish or gray skin colour
  • not drinking enough fluids (and not passing as much urine as they normally do)
  • severe or persistent vomiting
  • not waking up or not interacting
  • being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • fever with a rash.

Can my child go to school or day care?

No. If your child is sick, they should stay home to rest and avoid giving the flu to other children or caregivers.

When can my child go back to school?

Keep your child home from school or day care for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone. A fever means a temperature of 37.5°Celsius or higher, as measured with a thermometer. Fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, like paracetamol.

Where can I get more advice?

  • Talk to your GP early if you are worried about your child’s illness.
  • Health advice and information is also available via the free Health Direct Australia service, staffed by registered nurses 24-hours a day, on 1800 022 222.
  • In an emergency, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.
Page Updated: Thursday 12 May 2016
Contact page owner: Communicable Diseases