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Is It a Cold? Or the Dreaded Flu?

By Donna Stark

It's happened. The one thing you were hoping would skip by you this year, is now standing right in front of your face, tissues in hand. A sick child, and from the looks of it, a very sick child. Runny nose. Sore throat. Body aches. You immediately reach for a thermometer and when that magic number pops up on the screen, you realize your worst fears have come true. But how serious is it? Is it just an intense cold (which as bad as it sounds, would be the best option here) or is it the dreaded flu?

Deciphering the Symptoms

The most frustrating thing about a child's sickness is that it can often be difficult to gauge just how sick he or she really is. And that couldn't be truer than when trying to figure out if it's a cold or the flu because they are both caused by viruses and they both share similar symptoms. Take a look.

  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches

Even though the cold and flu share similar symptoms, there are some key differences between the two. Here's what sets the flu apart.

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Rapid onset of symptoms

So What Are the Next Steps?

It's important to address your child's state of health right away and to know what red flags to look for if and when an illness progresses to something more serious. Here are some helpful tips.

  • Call the doctor - In some cases, the flu can cause serious complications, especially for very young children or for children who have other health conditions to contend with as well, like asthma. It's important to seek care if you think your child may have the flu.
  • Provide rest and plenty of fluids - The most important things you can provide your child with are rest and plenty of fluids. Consult with your pediatrician on which over-the-counter medicines would be beneficial for your child's age and weight. Your doctor may also prescribe some other medication as well.
  • Know the red flags - You have to pay attention to any signs of flu complications. Contact your pediatrician if your child can't eat or drink, shows signs of dehydration, is having trouble breathing, or if the fever shows no signs of improvement. You know your child the best, so you will be able to recognize these signs quite easily.

Conquering Those Germs

The days when your child is sick may feel like the longest days of the year, but with some extra tender loving care, your child will start feeling better sooner than you think! Stay well but keep that box of tissues handy, just in case.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Bellevue, Wash. 

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