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
- sore throat
- runny nose
- stomach ache
- vomiting and/or diarrhoea
Keep your child comfortable at home with paracetamol or ibuprofen, plenty of fluids and rest.
- Steam inhalation is not the answer - read our warning on how the common cold and flu remedy is causing a spike in children's burns injuries.
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.
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.
- Listen to Dr Matthew O'Meara, Chief Paediatrician of NSW answer common questions on COVID-19 and flu vaccination.
Visit Healthdirect's colds and flu page for practical tips and advice on managing cold and flu symptoms.
- Read our media release urging parents to get their children vaccinated, as flu hospitalisations rise.
- Read our warning on how steam inhalation as a cold and flu remedy is NOT the answer and causing a spike in children's burns injuries.
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 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).
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:
- Viral induced wheeze
- RSV (NSW Health)
- Caring for low risk COVID-19 positive children
- Sore throat
- Headaches in children
- Nappy rash
- Hives (urticaria)
- Urinary tract infection in children
- Abdominal pain (stomach ache)
- Gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhoea)
- Crying baby
- Recognition of serious illness in children
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.
- Resources on COVID-19 and other health topics are available in multiple languages on the Multicultural Health Communication Service website.
- An audio explainer on Keeping children safe this winter has been released by NSW Health in partnership with The National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council:
- This covers the importance of vaccinating your child against COVID and flu this winter, age guidelines, and how to book a vaccination for your child. This has been produced across 22 languages (English script attached) and will be aired on applicable stations via their news updates. Links to all audio clips are available here in Arabic, Bosnian, Cantonese, Croatian, Dinka, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Macedonian, Maltese, Mandarin, Punjabi, Serbian, Sinhala, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Tongan, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese.
- Read our media release urging parents to get their children vaccinated, as flu hospitalisations rise. Also available in: