As a parent, you want to do everything that you can to keep your child as healthy and safe as possible at all times. However, you cannot protect them from every germ in the world and children will inevitably get sick at one point or another. If you are worried about whether your child has the flu or a common cold, for example, it is important to get to know the signs and symptoms of the flu in children. Then, you can be sure to get them to the doctor as soon as you notice symptoms to get the help and treatment they need to overcome the flu as quickly and as well as possible.
Most of the time, when a child gets the common cold, they may be a little sleepy or lethargic. However, extreme fatigue, such as barely being able to get out of bed or not being able to function regularly is a sign that your child has the flu rather than a cold.
The flu is a much stronger virus than a cold and will therefore cause a more extreme reaction in your child. Watch how much they are sleeping or how much time they spend resting. If it seems excessive, contact their pediatrician as soon as possible.
When a child has a cold, their temperature could be elevated slightly. However, when they have the flu, their temperature will usually become quite high. Generally speaking, a low grade fever of 99 to 101 is nothing to be terribly concerned about. Higher fevers are more serious and a fever up to 104 is a surefire sign of an infection much more serious that a cold.
Take your child's temperature every few hours if you notice a low-grade fever in your child. If their temperature continues to rise, take them to the doctor. If it is not the flu, it is likely another serious viral or bacterial infection that needs to be treated sooner rather than later.
Sore Throat and/or Dry Cough
Two other signs that your child may have the flu rather than a cold is if they have a persistent dry cough and/or a sore throat. Colds generally do not cause severe sore throats. As such, if your child is complaining of difficulty swallowing, sore throat, or you notice them coughing without the cough being productive, you will want to head straight to urgent care or the pediatrician's office right away.
With these symptoms in mind, you can be sure that you take your child to the doctor as soon as you notice any of the signs of the flu. Then, they can get the treatment they need to get well as soon as possible.