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A detailed guide to influenza medication

Updated: 2023-03-30


I. What medicine should children take when they have the flu?

Flu medications fall into two broad categories: anti-flu virus drugs and symptomatic treatment drugs.

1. Antiviral drugs

Anti-flu drugs approved for marketing in China include: oseltamivir phosphate granules and capsules, zanamivir inhalation and peramivir injection.

Oral oseltamivir phosphate is the preferred antiviral drug for the treatment of the flu. It should be taken within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, and the course of treatment is generally five days.


Child's weightTreatment amountPrevention amount
≤15kg30mg/time, 2 times/day30mg/time, 1 time/day
>15-23kg45mg/time, 2 times/day45mg/time, 1 time/day
>13-40kg60mg/time, 2 times/day60mg/time, 1 time/day
>40kg75mg/time, 2 times/day75mg/time, 1 time/day

Tips: After taking oseltamivir phosphate, the most common side effects are vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Food has no effect on the absorption of oseltamivir phosphate, so if the child is prone to vomiting after taking the medicine, he/she can be fed with a small amount of food to reduce the occurrence of vomiting.

2. The use of symptomatic drugs (antipyretics, etc.)

Type A influenza can cause persistent high fever, so parents must pay close attention to their child’s temperature and treat the fever as quickly as possible.

The antipyretics recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for children are acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

•For children younger than 2 months with immature liver and kidney function, WHO recommends that antipyretics are prohibited. Instead, please go to the hospital directly.

•Acetaminophen can be used for children between 2 to 6 months old.

•Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used for children older than 6 months.

Parents should pay attention that many compound cold medicines contain acetaminophen. Read the drug instructions carefully and avoid repeated medications, which may damage the child's liver and kidney function.

II. If I have the flu and keep coughing, should I take antitussive medicine?

Coughing is a protective reflex of the human body's airway. The human body discharges secretions or pathogens (bacteria, viruses, etc.) through coughing, and also keeps the airway clean and unobstructed.

Therefore, routine use of antitussives is not recommended for children. However, if the child coughs frequently and that is affecting their daily life, medical treatment should be sought promptly, as type A influenza can also cause pneumonia.

III. When should I seek medical treatment?

The following children require immediate medical attention:

1. Children under the age of 5 or high-risk children with underlying diseases such as asthma, kidney disease, and obesity.

2. If any one of the following severe or critical flu symptoms occurs:

(1) Persistent high fever > 3 days, accompanied by severe cough, purulent sputum, bloody sputum or chest pain;

(2) Rapid breathing, dyspnea, and cyanosis of lips;

(3) Unresponsiveness, drowsiness, restlessness and other mental changes or convulsions;

(4) Severe vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration such as oliguria;

(5) Complications such as pneumonia;

(6) The original underlying disease is obviously aggravated.