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Flu & Cold in Children: Symptoms, Causes & Relief

  • Cold and flu symptoms in children are much the same as in adults – they just get them more often.[1] In fact, children get at least 8 colds a year as their immune system is still building resistance to the many different viruses that cause a cold.[1]
  • Flu, on the other hand, is a more severe infection that can cause complications in young children.[2]
  • They’re caused by different groups of viruses and vary in severity and length.[1]
What to do
  • Keep your child off school or nursery if they are not feeling well – and for at least 5 days after they develop flu symptoms.1

  • Give medicine, such as ibuprofen, to help lower their temperature and to relieve any pains and/or aches.1,3

  • Drink plenty of water.3

What to avoid
  • If your child is showing symptoms of either a cold or the flu, don’t share household items like towels or mugs in the house, or anywhere else.

  • If your child is exposed to someone exhibiting symptoms, encourage them to avoid close contact and wash their hands properly and often.

  • Another thing to try to do is to encourage your child not to touch their eyes, mouth or nose.

  • Encourage them to use a tissue to cover the mouth and nose when they sneeze or cough. They may find it more fun to ‘dab’ instead – it’s still good hygiene!

Get an urgent doctor appointment if your child has any of the following:1,3

  • They are under 3 months of age and have a temperature of 37.5°C or more
  • They are aged 3–6 months old and have a fever of 37.5°C or more
  • Difficulty breathing or unable to swallow fluids or saliva – go to A&E as this could be serious.

Signs and symptoms of flu:1,4

  • A high fever, over 38°C.
  • Headaches.
  • Aching muscles.
  • Cough.
  • A sore throat.
  • Cold symptoms.
  • Chills.
  • Feeling weak and tired.


Signs and symptoms of cold:1

  • A blocked or runny nose.
  • A sore throat.
  • Sneezing
  • Coughs.
  • Fever.


Signs and symptoms of coronavirus:5

  • A high fever, over 38°C.
  • A new cough of any kind.
  • Changes to sense of taste or smell.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Sore throat.
  • Headaches.
  • Nausea or vomiting.


Colds and flu in children

A cold is often confused with the flu, but they are different infections, caused by different viruses.4 Cold symptoms are generally milder than the flu.4 Colds usually affect mainly the nose and throat, while flu tends to cause chills and makes the whole body ache.4

Children aged 2–12 years can get a nasal flu vaccine for free to help protect them against flu and help stop the spread to others, such as grandparents.1

If your child has cold or flu symptoms they should practice good hygiene and physical distancing to help slow the spread of germs. This includes, washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, remembering to clean between the fingers.6

It’s normal for a child to have several colds a year.1 Children get more colds than adults as they have yet built up the same immunity to the hundreds of different viruses that can cause a cold.1


Causes of colds and flu

Colds and flu are seasonal viruses and are caused by the spread of germs through coughs and sneezes.4,7


How to relieve colds and flu

In most cases, you can manage your child’s cold at home, without seeing a doctor.1 If you’re worried or their symptoms persist or get worse, then don’t hesitate to see a medical professional for advice.


Why Ibuprofen can help

Ibuprofen helps to relieve pain and fever associated with colds and flu, without causing drowsiness.1


Why Nurofen For Children can help your child

Nurofen for Children is available in different formulations for children of different ages (from 3 months of age). It helps to provide relief from pain and gets to work on fever in 15 minutes and lasts for up to 8 hours.8,9 It’s available as an orange or strawberry liquid suspension, suppositories or a soft gel chew, depending on your child’s age.

Ask your pharmacist for advice on which Nurofen for Children product is right for your child.



Nurofen for Children 100mg/5ml Oral Suspension 100ml/150ml/200ml

  • Suitable for children from 3 months and weighing over 5 kg
  • Available in strawberry and orange flavours
  • 150ml contains a syringe for use in children who won’t or can’t use a spoon, particularly young babies

Nurofen for Children 100mg/5ml 16 x 5ml Sachets

  • Suitable for children from 3 months and weighing over 5 kg
  • Orange flavour

Nurofen for Children 60mg Suppositories

  • Suitable for children from 3 months and weighing over 6 kg
  • Good for children who might be struggling with taking oral formulations because of vomiting, regurgitation or sore throat



Nurofen for Children 100mg/5ml Oral Suspension 100ml/150ml/200ml

  • Suitable for children from 3 months and weighing over 5 kg
  • Available in strawberry and orange flavours
  • Measuring spoon included in 100ml and 200ml for accurate dosing

Nurofen for Children 6+ 200mg/5ml Oral Suspension

  • Suitable for children from 6 years and weighing over 20 kg
  • Same effective relief in half volume dose*
  • Available in strawberry and orange flavours

*Compared to Nurofen for Children 100mg/5ml Oral Suspension

Nurofen for Children 7+ Chewable Capsules 12 x 100mg Capsules

  • Orange flavour
  • Easy to chew – no need for water
  • Useful for on-the-go


This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health-related matters, always consult your healthcare professional.