baystateparent magazine October 2018

Page 30

Is It a Cold or the Flu?

How to Tell the Difference, And When to Call the Doctor BY RAIED DINNO, RPH. AND SAAD DINNO, RPH


the weather turns cold and winter creeps up, the conversations about cold and flu season are even more common than the ones about the snow. We receive various questions from parents regarding their children’s health during the winter. Here is what you need to know for a healthy winter for your family.

30 OCTOBER2018

The difference between a cold and the flu The common cold and the flu (influenza virus) are both respiratory illnesses that are usually self-diagnosable. One can often tell them apart in a child by the symptoms and their severity. Both a cold and the flu can

cause congestion in the nose and head, a cough and a fever, but one can conclude that a child has the flu if symptoms are severe, such as a high fever (100.4° and above). A common sign of the flu is the achiness throughout a child’s entire body and chills, both of which are not generally associated with a cold.

The onset and timeline of your child’s illness is also a good indicator of whether they have a cold or the flu. A cold usually develops gradually while flu symptoms often appear very suddenly. Children’s colds usually last for about three to 10 days while the flu lasts from seven to 14 days, and may linger for

three weeks. It’s not always easy for children to communicate their symptoms and how they are feeling, so during the cold and flu season, keep an eye on your child’s day to day behavior. If a younger child has a cold they may rub their nose and eyes frequently and they may eat less while older