The Miserable Cough
For the first time in her life, your child is too wiped out to play. She's got a weak, hoarse cough, as well as a high fever, muscle aches, and sniffles.
What's probably causing it: Influenza, otherwise known as the flu, a viral illness that attacks the respiratory system. The flu has a long incubation period in kids, so they can walk around with the virus for days before they get sick, sharing it with friends and family. "It's spread through little droplets, so when a classmate sneezes just once, the flu virus flies across the room," says Dr. Lonzer.
How to help: Give her plenty of fluids, as well as either acetaminophen or, in children older than 6 months, ibuprofen with food or milk to bring down her fever and relieve aches. Next year, be sure she gets the flu vaccine.