Flu Symptoms in Children: When to See a Doctor

February 15, 2022

Flu season can be a stressful time for parents and children alike. One of the most challenging parts is determining whether what you’re observing is the flu or not. Flu symptoms in children can present themselves in a variety of ways. 

Common Flu Symptoms in Children

Typical flu symptoms in children are easily observable once you know what you’re looking for. Here, we have provided the most common signs you may see in your child. If you observe these, request an appointment at Holly Springs Pediatrics.  


If your child begins feeling warm or complaining of being hot, this could be the beginning signs of a fever. The best way to measure if your child indeed does have a fever is a digital thermometer. While it can be scary for a parent when their child has a high fever, this is a sign that the body’s immune system is fighting off an infection. 

A fever is typically constituted as any temperature higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. When deciding how to treat a fever, pay attention to how your child acts. If your child is still active and happy to be playing around, it can typically be treated with at-home remedies. If not, bring your child to the doctor as it could signify something like the flu.   

Muscle Aches 

Another one of the most common flu symptoms in children is muscle aches. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, muscle aches can be severe when related to the flu. Muscles can feel sore and achy to the point where a child does not want to move around. The aches can also lead to further tiredness and exhaustion in a child. 

If your child begins complaining of intense muscle aches, this is a sign to take them to the doctor to discover if they are sick with the flu.  


While adults can also get headaches, the symptoms from adult to a child can look different. According to the Mayo Clinic, a child’s headache can be shorter lengths of time in pain. A child who cannot describe the pain may rock back and forth holding their head. The headaches can also lead to the child waking up from sleep without direct reason besides head pain. 

The flu is one of the most common reasons for headaches in children. This could be a determining factor in figuring out if your child has the flu. 

Sore Throat  

A sore throat can be related to multiple illnesses, but the flu is one of them. When a child complains of a sore throat, it typically is a scratchy feeling when they swallow or are simply going about their day. 

A sore throat can be a sign of needing to see the doctor when it is causing the child to have trouble breathing or swallowing. This, paired with a fever or severe drowsiness, can signify something more going on, such as the flu.   

Progressively Worsening Cough  

If you notice a worsening cough in your child, this could be a sign that they are battling the flu. It is important to note here that the cough gets worse. The flu symptoms in children specifically tend to be paired with an accelerated cough in a way a typical cold would not. 

Once you see that a child’s cough has not gotten better, this could be the time to take them to a doctor. 


Fatigue can be a symptom while also resulting from the others listed. Your child’s immune system fighting off the flu can make them extremely tired. When you are already observing other flu symptoms in children, extreme tiredness is bound to be present. 

If this gets to the point where your child is not willing or able to participate in any normal activities, it could be a sign of something worse. This would be a good time to contact a doctor to see what to do next. 

When you are equipped to observe common flu symptoms in children, it can give you peace of mind. Preparation is the key to making sure your child is safe and healthy. Do you think your child could be displaying symptoms of the flu? Request an appointment through our website or give us a call at (919) 249-4700.