Seasonal Influenza (Flu)

Prevention, Symptoms and Treatment
Advice from our Pediatric Experts
 The Flu: A Respiratory Virus
(en Español)

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. It can cause mild to severe illness—and can even lead to death. 


See our frequently asked questions for information about flu symptoms, treatment options and prevention.

Guidelines for Parents

You may have heard about rapid flu tests, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that these tests are not very accurate in identifying flu during influenza season. 

Children’s no longer uses the rapid flu test in its hospitals and does not recommend you seek out testing at your pediatrician’s office.

If you think your child might have the flu and are wondering whether you should seek medical assistance, use one of the following resources:


    No More Excuses

    Operation Prevent FluThe CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot. Protect yourself and your family by getting a flu vaccine every year to fight off the multiple strains of each season's virus. 

    Find the Flu Vaccine

    Use the Healthmap Vaccine Finder to find facilities, including retail clinics, that have the flu vaccine. Contact your physician for more information.


Vaccines for Young Children

The vaccine is for everyone age 6 months and older and is safe for children. Everyone in your family must get vaccinated to protect children who are too young to get the vaccine.

If your child is younger than age 9 and has never received a flu vaccine, he or she will need two vaccine doses to be protected.

Resources for Physicians

We recommend these tools for community practitioners during flu season.