Is it the flu or a common cold?
Your child has come home from school with a fever, a runny nose and exhaustion. Naturally, you look at their symptoms and wonder if it’s the flu or a common cold. Our Plano pediatricians have years of experience quickly helping parents find the answer to this common query.
However, this year we’re also facing another variable. With COVID-19 in the mix, it’s helpful to know the symptoms of all three disruptive illnesses. Read on for information from the experts.
How to tell whether it’s the flu or a common cold
We know how badly you want to help your little one feel better when they’re sick. Knowing which illness is afflicting them matters, as it determines the best course of treatment. If they’ve come down with COVID-19, there’s the added importance of quarantining the entire family.
Our Plano pediatricians often use the following indicators to help determine whether their patient has the flu or a common cold.
- In a cold, the symptoms come on gradually. The symptoms of the flu come on abruptly.
- Headache, fever, aches and chills are rare or mild with a cold, but they tend to be common with the flu.
- Sneezing, a stuffy nose and a sore throat are common in colds. They only show up occasionally with the flu.
- Colds make kids a little more tired than usual, but the flu leads to obvious fatigue and weakness.
The symptoms of COVID-19 in children mirror those of a cold, often with the addition of diarrhea and vomiting. Most COVID-19 cases in children are mild, but it’s still important that they get tested if you believe they’ve been infected. To protect others, your child and the rest of the household will need to quarantine yourselves for at least 14 days.
Our Plano pediatricians are here to help
The most definitive way to tell whether your child has the flu or a common cold is to take a flu test. These are inexpensive, simple and give immediate results.
Our Plano pediatricians administer flu tests regularly, especially between the months of October and February. If you believe your child has come down with the flu, we can confirm it with a test and give you individualized treatment advice. The same care applies if you believe your child may have COVID-19.
Contact our office at (972) 473-7777 for more facts about the flu, colds and COVID-19.