It is hard to tell if your child has a cold or the flu. The flu is a lot like a cold, but worse. A cold usually starts with sniffling and sneezing, but the flu hits hard and fast. Your child is fine one hour, then they are in bed. A cold hardly ever causes a fever. The flu usually causes a fever.
Ear, throat, and sinus infections can come after the flu. This can be very dangerous for very young children.
Your child probably has the flu if they get these symptoms badly and suddenly:
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Bad headache
- Muscle aches or backache
- Feeling very, very tired
- Fever up to 104oF
- Pain when they move their eyes, or burning eyes
Muscle aches and feeling very tired are the biggest signs of the flu. A child won’t usually have these problems with just a cold.
How to Keep Your Child from Getting the Flu have your child do these things:
- Eat well, get plenty of rest, and exercise to stay strong and fight off the flu.
- Wash their hands often during the day.
- Stay away from children and adults who sneeze and cough. Have your child turn their head away when someone sneezes or coughs near them.
There are flu shots, but most children shouldn’t get them. Only children with long-term sicknesses, like heart and lung diseases, need flu shots.
Questions to Ask
|Does your child have any of these problems with or after the flu?|
|Does your child have any of these problems with the flu?|
|Did a deer tick bite your child 10 days to 3 weeks before he or she got sick?Was your child in the woods or someplace|
else where ticks live?(Note: Lyme disease, caused by a deer tick bite, can mimic flu symptoms.)
|Is your child’s fever or coughing getting worse?|
There’s no cure for the flu. Like a cold, it has to run its course. But you can help your child feel better, and avoid other problems. The best thing you can do is have your child rest in bed. Try these tips, too:
- Mix 1/4 teaspoon salt in 1 cup water.
- Have your child lie down. Have them tilt their head back or over the bed.
- Put 3 drops of the salt water in each nostril with a clean eyedropper. (Or you can use salt water.)
- After a minute, have your child blow their nose. Use a cotton swab or soft rubber suction bulb to take out the mucus if your child is too young to blow.
- Do this over and over if you have to.
(Note: Do not give aspirin to anyone under 19 years old unless your doctor tells you to. Aspirin and other medicines that have salicylates have been linked to Reye’s Syndrome, a condition that can kill.)
Your child can get Reye’s Syndrome after the flu or chicken pox. Have your child checked for infection if the fever comes back after the flu goes away.
Also, call your child’s doctor if your child is sick with the flu longer than a week.