Winter and your sick child

As a parent, having a sick child can be a scary time, and it can be hard to know what to do, or where to get help.

If your child has flu-like symptoms
1. Always call Triple Zero (000) if your child needs urgent medical care
2. COVID symptoms – get them tested
3. Mild symptoms, like cough and runny nose - rest and care at home
4. Contact your GP or paediatrician if you’re worried or your child isn’t getting better
5. If you don’t know what to do, or need access to a list of local GPs visit the Healthdirect website or call 1800 022 222 for 24/7 advice

Severely unwell children

If your child is severely unwell, with symptoms like difficulty breathing, call 000 immediately.

Moderately unwell children

Test your child for COVID-19 if your child has mild symptoms including:

  • a slight fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • stomach ache
  • constipation
  • vomiting and/or diarrhoea

Keep your child comfortable at home with paracetamol or ibuprofen, plenty of fluids and rest.

Concerned parents

If your child isn’t getting better or you’re concerned:

  • Contact your GP or paediatrician - in person or virtually. They know your child best.
  • If your regular GP is unavailable, you can use Healthdirect’s health service finder to find the nearest GP service open now.
  • You can also call Healthdirect 24/7 on 1800 022 222 to get trusted, expert advice from a nurse over the phone. It’s free, quick and easy.

If you’re still worried, visit your local emergency department.

Please be patient with staff. The sickest people are seen first, so you may need to wait.

Flu information

We’re already seeing high flu cases this year, especially in children.

Children aged 6 months and over are eligible for the 2022 flu vaccine. Protect your family and get vaccinated today at your GP or pharmacy.

COVID-19 is still circulating in the community. If your child is 5 years and over, they are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination – it’s their best protection.

COVID-19 information

High cases of COVID-19 continue to circulate in the community. 

Everyone in NSW is being asked to ensure they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations and to practice COVID-safe behaviours as the current wave of infections, driven by the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, continues to grow.

If you are vaccinated with three COVID-19 vaccine doses, you have 65 per cent greater protection against hospitalisation or death from Omicron than two vaccine doses alone affords, according to data from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.

Bronchiolitis information

Bronchiolitis is a viral infection that causes inflammation and congestion in the small airways of the lung. It is more common in winter and is currently circulating in the community.

Bronchiolitis affects babies under 12 months of age and usually begins as a cold (often caused by the Respiratory Synctial Virus, otherwise known as RSV).

If your baby has bronchiolitis, watch our video series with Dr Matthew O'Meara, NSW’s Chief Paediatrician and Emergency Staff Specialist at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick.

Useful factsheets

It’s important to understand how to best care for your sick child, and when to seek medical attention.

A new general fact sheet on respiratory viruses has been developed by NSW Health.

Some helpful fact sheets include:

Can't find what you're looking for? A full list of kids health fact sheets are available here.

You can also visit Healthdirect's colds and flu page for practical tips and advice on managing cold and flu symptoms.

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