Cold and the Flu: How to Tell the
Cold symptoms can look similar to flu symptoms in kids. Parents can expect their kids to get colds every year, especially during the fall and winter months when the risk of flu is also higher. So, how can you tell if your child is having flu symptoms or just has the common cold? ??
Causes of cold and flu??
Viruses cause both the common cold and the flu. The common cold is also referred to as an upper respiratory infection or URI. Several viruses can cause it, and testing is not typically done to diagnose. Influenza viruses cause the flu and there are several strains that circulate every year. Testing may be used to determine if you have the flu.???
Cold symptoms vs flu
The common cold and flu share several symptoms including cough, sore throat and congestion. However, the severity and onset is usually different. With a common cold, the symptoms usually come on gradually. It typically starts with a sore throat and then progressing to cough, runny nose, and/or sneezing. Your child can also have a mild fever. The symptoms may last 3-10 days.?
With flu, the symptoms tend to come on rapidly and your
child will look and feel more sick. They may complain of sore throat, muscle
aches, headaches, weakness and feeling tired. Fevers may be high and your child
could experience chills. Most children get better in a few days to 2 weeks. If
your child has any trouble breathing, a change in skin color, is not able to
drink fluids, has severe vomiting, appears very irritable, or their fever
returns after a respite period, please see a doctor immediately as these could
be signs of a more serious illness.
Cold vs flu treatment?
Keep your child well hydrated, have them blow their nose and rest as
needed. Your child can continue to go to school if they do not have a
fever. Cough and cold medications can be
used if recommended by your doctor.
If you think your child has the flu, keep them home from school. Allow them to get plenty of rest and fluids. If your child has any chronic conditions, such as asthma or diabetes, or appears very ill, contact your doctor. If the flu is detected within the first 48 hours, there are medicines, which may help shorten the time your child is sick by 1-2 days. Most of the time, your child will improve with fluids and rest. You may give fever/pain reducing medications as needed and recommended by your doctor.??
For both the common cold and?flu, preventative techniques include washing hands often, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze, avoiding contact with those who are sick, and disinfecting surfaces.
The best way to prevent flu is to get the?flu vaccine. Flu?vaccines should be received?every year before the actual flu season starts so your body is prepared. It takes about 2 weeks after the vaccine for your body to develop the antibodies.
Is My Child Too Sick for School?
There are some hard and fast rules that all parents and
guardians should stick to when it comes to illness and keeping your children at
home. If your child has any of the following symptoms, it is time to let the
school know they will be absent:
Fever (must be fever free for 24 hours without
medication before going back to school)
Nausea and vomiting
A rough night (for example, if your child was up
all night coughing or having trouble breathing)
Your child does not seem to be acting their
Rashes not caused by a known issue such as
eczema or irritation from a new product such as laundry detergent or lotion.
If your child is staying home from school, it does not
necessarily mean that you must take them to the doctor. Many childhood
illnesses can resolve with fever-reducing medications (ibuprofen or
acetaminophen) and rest. However, if your child shows any of the following
symptoms, you should call your pediatrician:
Vomiting or diarrhea that lasts more than a few
Any cold or cough that doesn't go away after six or seven days — or if your child's cold worsens and he develops a fever
Ear pain with a fever, or drainage leaking from
Sharp and persistent stomach or abdominal pains
Severe sore throat
Blood in urine or diarrhea
No fluids in more than 24 hours
Simple stuffy noses or coughs do not stop many children from
enjoying and participating fully in school activities. If your child is congested or has a sore
throat but is still active in the morning and able to get ready, it is a good
sign that they can handle the school day.
This is not a comprehensive list of symptoms. When in doubt, please consult your child’s pediatrician.