Caring for Pain Symptoms

How to Tell If Your Child Has a Cold or the Flu

The common cold and the flu have some similar symptoms, so they can be hard to tell apart. In general, a child with the flu will appear to be much sicker than a child with a cold. Most kids get 8 to 10 colds every year. 

 

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Cold

Flu

What it is:

A viral infection affecting the upper respiratory tract (nose, sinuses, throat). Although it shares some of the same symptoms as the flu, the viruses that cause cold and flu are unrelated.

Children's flu is caused by a virus that affects the upper respiratory tract. Although it shares some of the same symptoms as a cold, the viruses that cause cold and flu are unrelated.

How it starts:

Most colds start with a sore throat. Sneezing and stuffiness may follow, and by the third day, a cough and a mild fever may develop as well.

Flu generally starts more suddenly and severely than a cold, with a higher fever. A child with the flu feels much more achy and uncomfortable.

Symptoms:

Runny nose

Loss of appetite

Sneezing

Red eyes

Cough

Sore throat

Stuffy nose

Slight fever

Sudden onset of fever

Body ache

Headache

Runny nose

Extreme tiredness or fatigue

Dry, hacking cough

How long it lasts:

 A child usually has a cold for three to five days.

 The flu can last a week or longer.

What your child may say or do about her discomfort:

A younger child may rub her nose frequently and may eat less than usual.

An older child may complain that he can't breathe, or that his nose is stuffy and tickly.

A younger child generally seems sick, fussy, sleepy, and has less appetite than normal.

An older child may be very tired and uncomfortable. She may complain that her throat hurts, and may refuse food and liquids because they hurt her throat more.

 

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