Flu or Flu-like illness in chronically ill or disabled children

Advice to other parents

We asked parents what messages they would give to other parents of children with a long term medical condition or disability when their child has flu or flu-like illness. 

Parents advised other parents to know what’s normal for their child and to be proactive in responding to change or deterioration in their child’s symptoms. After eleven years of parenting her son with complex health needs, Michelle says, “If you feel that something’s not right then it probably isn’t right.” 

Parents gave the following advice:
  • Try, if possible, to maintain continuity of care by seeing the same GP and specialist nurse. 
  • Do not be afraid to get medical help early.
  • If you are unsure or don’t understand something ask questions or seek another opinion.
  • Be assertive - don’t think you are wasting your doctor’s time when you ask for help.
  • You know your child best. Trust your instincts.
  • Try to establish a good relationship with your doctor who will get to know you and your child when all is well.
  • If you suspect secondary infections or influenza: ask for tests. 
  • Pharmacists and nurses can give advice too.
  • Talk to other parents about how they manage flu-like illness.
  • Get the flu vaccine yourself so that you are well enough to look after your children.
  • It may get easier to look after your child as they get older.
  • Find out as much as you can about your child’s long term medical condition, use the internet.
  • Attend charity support group meeting/talks.
  • If your child is on a low dose of antibiotics every day talk to your doctor about whether a pro-biotic might help.  

Parents whose child had experienced many illness episodes wanted to reassure others that managing their child’s flu or flu-like illness will get easier to deal with as they learn how their child’s symptoms usually develop and the best way to manage them.


Please use the form below to tell us what you think of the site. We’d love to hear about how we’ve helped you, how we could improve or if you have found something that’s broken on the site. We are a small team but will try to reply as quickly as possible.

Please note that we are unable to accept article submissions or offer medical advice. If you are affected by any of the issues covered on this website and need to talk to someone in confidence, please contact The Samaritans or your Doctor.

Make a Donation to healthtalk.org

Find out more about how you can help us.

Send to a friend

Simply fill out this form and we'll send them an email