The Difference Between a Cold and The Flu

The Difference Between a Cold and The Flu

“AAAAHHHHHHHH CHOOOOOOO.” “Sniffle.” “I’m Cold.” It’s just another day here at Old Harding Pediatrics! As we walk the halls we are greeted by sad faces and chattering teeth. ITS OFFICIALLY FLU SEASON!

Are you wondering if your child has the flu or just a common cold? NEVER FEAR! We are here to talk about flu prevention, common flu symptoms, and what to do IF your child gets a visit from the Flu Fairy.

First, lets talk about preventing the flu to hopefully save you a visit. One defense against the flu is HANDWASHING! Encourage your child to SCRUB their hands with soap and water before eating, after using the bathroom, after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose, when hands are visibly soiled, and after coming in contact with another “sick” child or adult. Another way to prevent the flu is with the flu vaccine (yes, we know your kids aren’t going to be a fan of this option). It is recommended thatALL CHILDREN over 6 months of age receive the flu vaccine as it can significantly reduce flu illnesses, missed school days, and flu-related complications, including hospitalizations and/or death. We are currently doing flu clinics here at OHPA so call us soon to schedule your child with their favorite nurses! Don’t worry, we will be sure to bribe them with plenty of stickers and lollipops! Another way to prevent the flu is to teach your children the importance of keeping their hands away from their mouth, nose, and eyes during flu season. Finally, encourage them to cough or sneeze into their elbows to keep germs off of their hands (which as we all know then will touch everything in your house).

Now, what should you look for if your child isn’t their normal perky self and you are concerned it might be flu? Sometimes flu symptoms are mild (especially if they got their flu shot) but usually kids with the flu act and feel much worse than when they have a common cold.  They generally have higher fevers (that’s a temperature GREATER than 100.4), body aches, fatigue, loss of appetite (yes even popsicles), a runny nose and cough, and sometimes abdominal pain and vomiting. If your child has a fever, do NOT send them to school or daycare! Instead, just call Old Harding and let us help! We are here 7 days a week including evenings! Sometimes symptoms can be treated at home. Use Motrin/Tylenol to treat fevers and body aches, make sure your child is getting plenty of rest, and most importantly, KEEP THEM HYDRATED! If your child did NOT get a flu shot, symptoms may linger 7-10 days (insert very sad face here). Kids WITH flu shots will have a much shorter duration of symptoms (insert smiley face here). Keep your child out of school/daycare until they are fever free for 24 hours.

Please feel free to call us to set up and appointment for your child’s flu shot AND anytime that you think your child may have flu symptoms.