Kids' Health
Visit website  
Home › Topics › Your Health > 

Colds and flu

cold; virus; germs; flu; influenza; throat; immunisation; sneeze; cough; sore; throat; swine; infection; sneezing;


How colds spread

There are over 200 viruses (germs) that can give you a cold, so you have to be really lucky to escape getting lots of colds during your life!

Cold viruses are very friendly. They like to hang out where there are lots of people.

If someone sneezes or coughs, the germs fly out looking for someone else to land on.

Yucky tissues and hands that you cough or sneeze on can pass on the cold virus to everyone they touch.

You don't get a cold from being cold, but you can feel cold if you've got a cold! If you have a fever you will feel that you are cold. Get that!

What happens when a cold catches you?

colds3a.gif (9823 bytes)


colds3c.gif (10288 bytes)

Did you find the one that doesn't fit?
colds and fluWhich one was it?

Yes you really don't sound too good if you try singing when you've got a cold, do you? I know it was pretty easy anyway because you don't usually turn into a frog when you've got a cold. Well I don't. Do you?

Of course you'd have to be pretty unlucky to have all of these at the same time.

What you can do to stop colds spreading


  • colds and fluStay away from school so you don't spread your cold to other kids or your teacher.
  • Wash your hands a lot.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue.
  • Throw tissues away in a bin or down the toilet.
  • Go to bed and sleep if you feel tired.
  • Drink lots of water or juice.
  • Suck cough lollies to make your throat feel better (not too many - they can hurt your teeth).
  • Rest if you feel unwell.

It is not a good idea to:

  • wipe your nose on your sleeve - tissues are best
  • save tissues in your pocket or up your sleeve
    colds and flu
  • have all your friends come to visit you
  • stay up late at night (colds are always worse then)
  • do sports and games for a while (it's really hard to run around with a drippy nose)
  • go around kissing people on the mouth!
  • sneeze or cough over other people
  • go visiting someone who is sick
  • be around babies or old people as they are more likely to get your germs.

Colds usually get better after about 4 or 5 days.

Problems that colds might cause 

  • Sometimes bacteria (another lot of germs) can get you while you're not feeling well.
  • Some people get an ear infection or sinusitis when they have a cold.
  • Sometimes colds can trigger an asthma attack for people who have asthma often.

See the doctor if:

  • you have pain in your ears, head or face
  • you feel hot and then cold for a few days
  • you have a cough that won't go away
  • your throat feels sore and swollen.

There's 'sand' in my throat,
And my nose is runny.
A 'train' in my ears 
A cold's not funny!


This is what some children say about colds.

When I have a cold I feel:

  • "that my throat is on fire, hot as an oven"
  • "like I've swallowed prickles"
  • "that someone is rubbing sandpaper along my throat"
  • "that my head is made out of jelly"
  • "my nose is like a fountain of water."

Flu (influenza)

The flu is different to a cold - you feel sicker but don't have a runny nose.

colds and fluThere are several types of 'flu'. As fast as our bodies learn how to fight one flu virus, another one turns up! A virus is a germ that tries to get into a body cell where it will take over and produce more germs.

If your body is pretty healthy it will fight off the virus, but for babies, old people and anyone who is already sick, their bodies may not be strong enough and they could need help from the Doctor.

Flu vaccination 2018 - 500px

How do you catch it?

You catch it in the same ways as you catch a cold.

So, how do you know it's flu?

  • It starts very quickly.
  • You feel hot, then cold and shivery.
  • Your body aches.
  • You feel 'yuk' and just want to 'veg out'.
  • Your nose is not usually runny.

What to do for flu

These are the most important things to do if you have flu.

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink lots of water or juice.
  • Eat soft foods if your throat is sore (this is a good excuse to eat lots of ice blocks and ice-cream).
    dairy products
  • Stay home from school. You could spread flu to all your friends, and you won't feel like doing work anyway.

Having some paracetamol or ibuprofen (treatments for fever and pain) may help you feel more comfortable. Ask your mum or dad about this.

You can have a flu 'shot' (immunisation). Immunisation is a smart way to get your body to protect you without catching the disease.  That means you are given a 'needle' but it really only hurts a tiny amount. Just remember to relax, and look away, and keep still. Have a look at our topic on Immunisation. These flu immunisations are free for young children, pregnant women and older people.

Sometimes adults who have to work with people who may sneeze all over them may be immunised too. (Like your teacher, and doctors and nurses!)

  • There are no treatments that get rid of the flu - your body will kill off the viruses but it does take a week or so to do this. Antibiotics don't kill viruses - so don't expect your doctor to give you a prescription.

Sore throats

How do you get a sore throat?

Colds, flu and sleeping with your mouth open can give you a sore throat, but other diseases can cause a sore throat too.

If your throat doesn't feel better after a few days, then you may have to visit the doctor to find out what kind of sore throat you have, and you may need some medicine to help you get better.

Dr Kate says:

Dr Kate
"Rest, keeping warm and drinking lots of water will help you to get better. Everyone seems to get a cold sometime. It always seems unfair when you get a cold in summer and you have to stay away from your friends. But you don't want to pass your germs on do you?

If you feel really sick, go and see your Doctor."

Here are some poems that some of you have sent in:

C colds
O oranges
L lozenges
D doctor
S sneezy
By Amanda

It feels really bad, if you know what I mean
You may as well make the sickbed scene.
You lie in your bed
nd you've got a sore head
You have a runny nose
and it drips on your clothes
I've one thing to say if things are like this
That you've got a cold if you feel like this.

I hate colds,
You probably do too
But a cold's a cold.
Nothing you can do
Just stay in bed
Rest your head
And soon you'll be
As good as new.
I do not like getting a cold.
But when I do I'm brave and bold.
While I'm at home reading in bed,
I wish I was at school
I'm feeling half dead.
For breakfast I have vegemite on toast.
Mum is the one who's there for me the most.
I watch the TV, my favourite show
But most of the time I am feeling quite low.
When you get a cold it is best to wait
For it to get better, it's not doom or fate.
It might take a while, three or four days.
A cold is strange with its little ways.

by Ailish


back to top

We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


Home › Topics › Your Health >