"I can't tell if my child is catching a cold or the flu. How can I know which it is?"
You can use the general symptom checklist below to help you figure out what your child means by "Mommy, I don't feel good."
Remember, your child doesn't need to have all the symptoms to have the flu or a cold. In fact, flu sometimes has coldlike symptoms. But the swiftness and intensity of flu's onset are its most common signs.
Flu caught within 48 hours of first symptoms can sometimes be treated with an antiviral prescription medicine. This can shorten your child's illness by a day or two. Check with your pediatrician to see if this therapy is suitable for your little patient.
And whether it's a cold or the flu, comfort your child with plenty of liquids, bed rest and acetaminophen for fever and aches.
Symptom The flu A cold
Did the illness come on ... suddenly slowly
Is your child's fever ... high mild (or absent)
Is your child acting ... exhausted a bit "out of it"
Is your child's cough ... dry hacking
Is his or her throat ... normal red, sore
Is your child's nose ... dry runny
Does his or her head ... ache not ache
Has your child's appetite ... gone down stayed the same
Do your child's muscles ... ache not ache
Does your child have ... chills no chills