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Flu vs Cold: Symptoms in Children

You just received a call from the school, and they are sending your child home because of a runny nose and a fever. You may be asking yourself: is it just a cold or is it flu? Should you call your doctor now or wait and see?

Having a cold or the flu can seem very similar. Both are respiratory illnesses, which mean they affect the lungs, but there are definite differences between a cold and the flu. Knowing what your child has will go a long in making sure they receive proper treatment.

Cold Symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Dry or sore throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Coughing
  • Mild body aches
  • Possible reduced appetite
  • Occasional mild fever

Colds usually take some time to come on. You may spend a day or two sneezing before it really becomes that full-blown cold. In young children, they may run a slight fever with their cold, because their bodies haven’t yet adapted to having a cold.

Flu Symptoms:

  • Fever (sometimes high)
  • Headache
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose or stuffiness
  • Nausea / Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • No desire to eat

Flu symptoms in children usually come on very quickly. Having the flu will make your child feel awful. They may feel so bad, they won’t want to do anything but sleep. This is the biggest indicator of what you’re dealing with. A flu will sideline your child, whereas a cold will make them feel miserable for a day or so, then start to go away. Flu symptoms linger on for about 5 days before your child really begins to feel better.

Remember, flu symptoms can vary from child to child. If you do suspect your child has the flu, it’s best to make a child doctor visit in Anthem, AZ. They will confirm your suspicions and get your child on the way to feeling better again.

Before the flu season ever hits, you can have your children get a flu vaccine. If they’ve already contracted flu, there is antiviral medication they can take which will be effective, if given within the first 48 hours of symptoms.

For symptoms that seem to go from bad to worse or for ear pain, strep throat, or difficulty breathing, call your doctor right away. Never assume that symptoms will just go away on their own. Be sure to get your child checked out for cold or flu symptoms right away.

Posted in Blog on February 9th, 2016