Coughing, sore throat and fever, oh my! Your child is definitely sick, but with what? The cold and flu viruses can often be tricky for parents to tell apart because many of the symptoms are the same, but there are several signs that your child has more than just a cold. Here’s what to look for:
If your child has the flu, it will often be accompanied by a high fever. A child with a cold is more likely to have only a mild fever, or no fever at all. If your child has a fever of 102 F or higher, or if your baby has a fever of 100.4 F or higher, seek medical help immediately.
Your child will most likely have chills if he or she has a fever. The common cold is much less likely to produce this symptom.
Head and Muscle Aches
One of the most common indicators of the flu is the presence of head and body aches. If your child has the flu, he or she will experience muscle soreness and pain, and likely headaches as well.
No one is ever high-energy when they’re sick, but the flu comes with very noticeable and severe exhaustion that isn’t present with the common cold. Your child will feel too weak to do much more than sleep or watch TV.
If you think your child has the flu, there are certain things you can do to help. First and foremost, assess the situation and determine if medical help is needed. If your child is younger than 5 or has a long-term health condition, you should seek medical help as soon as possible as these groups are at risk for serious complications from the flu. However, a child of any age with severe flu-like symptoms should be seen by a medical professional.
If your child does have the flu — or even a severe cold — it’s important to make sure he or she gets plenty of rest and drinks plenty of fluids. If your child’s sore throat is too sensitive for cold water, broth or sports drinks are a good alternative. Your child should be kept home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, without the help of fever-reducing medication, except to receive medical care.
If your child is sick with a severe cold or the flu, American Family Care can help, no appointment necessary.