Is It a Cold, the Flu, or COVID-19?enparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/KH_generic_header_01_2.jpgYour child has a sore throat, cough, and a high fever. Is it COVID-19? Could it be the flu? Or just a cold? Here are tips on what to look for, and what to do.cold, colds, common cold, flu, influenza, the flu, flu shot, influenza shot, coughs, cough, coughing, stuffy head, congestion, congested, runny nose, sniffles, sniffling, sneeze, sneezing, sneezes, aches and pains, fatigue, tired, tiredness, malaise, run down, fevers, fever, temperature, low-grade fever, high fever, chills, dizzy, dizziness, shakes, loss of appetite, exhaustion, exhausted, is it a cold or the flu, cold or flu, cold or the flu03/23/200004/15/202104/15/2021Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD04/14/202116fd4bfe-f370-4bed-879d-e830fcc1b411https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/flu-vs-cold.html/<p>Your child has a <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/sore-throat-sheet.html/">sore throat</a>, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/childs-cough.html/">cough</a>, and a high <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/fever.html/">fever</a>. Is it <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coronavirus.html/">COVID-19</a>? Could it be <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/flu.html/">the flu</a>? Or just a <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cold.html/">cold</a>?</p> <p>All these illnesses are caused by <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/germs.html/">viruses</a> that infect the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/lungs.html/">respiratory tract</a>. All are contagious and can spread easily from person to person. And they cause some similar symptoms. So it can be hard to tell them apart.</p> <p>Here are some things to look for if your child gets sick.</p> <h3>The Common Cold (Caused by Many Different Viruses)</h3> <p>Cold symptoms usually are mild. They often include a tickly throat, a runny or stuffy nose, and sneezing. If there's a fever, it is <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/take-temperature.html/">not high</a>. A child with a cold usually feels quite well, and has a good appetite and normal energy levels.</p> <p>There is no test for the common cold, and no specific treatment. It just needs to run its course.</p> <h3>The Flu (Caused by the Influenza Virus)</h3> <p>The flu can also be mild. Usually, though, kids with the flu feel worse than if they have a cold. They might have a fever that comes on suddenly, with chills, a <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/headache.html/">headache</a>, and body aches. They can have a sore throat, runny nose, and cough. And they feel generally miserable and tired and don't have much of an appetite. Some kids even have belly pain, nausea, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/vomit.html/">vomiting</a>, or <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/diarrhea.html/">diarrhea</a>.</p> <p>A doctor can check if someone has the flu by doing a test that looks for the flu virus.</p> <p>Most kids with flu <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/tips-take-care.html/">get better at home</a> with plenty of liquids, rest, and comfort. In some cases, a doctor might prescribe an antiviral medicine to ease symptoms and shorten the illness. Some people get very ill and need treatment in the hospital.</p> <p>Many cases of the flu can be prevented by getting a <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/flu-vaccine.html/">flu vaccine</a> every year.</p> <h3>COVID-19 (Caused by a Type of Coronavirus)</h3> <p>Kids infected by the coronavirus may not have any symptoms, or their symptoms can be mild, like those of a common cold. Some can have more severe flu-like symptoms. So COVID-19 symptoms can look very much like those from a cold or the flu. But one symptom that happens more commonly in COVID-19 is a loss of taste or smell.</p> <p>To see if someone has coronavirus, doctors can <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coronavirus-tests.html/">do a test</a> that looks for a piece of the virus in the respiratory tract. They also can check for a past infection by doing a <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coronavirus-antibody-testing.html/">blood test</a> that looks for antibodies.</p> <p>There is no specific medicine for COVID-19. Most people who have it&nbsp;<a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coronavirus-stop-spread.html/">get better at home</a> with plenty of liquids, rest, and comfort. Some people get very ill and need treatment in the hospital.</p> <p>COVID-19 vaccines are now available for people 16 and older. Health care workers and people at high risk for getting very sick if they're infected have been first in line to get vaccinated. Other adults and teens 16 and older can get a vaccine in the spring and summer of 2021. Studies are underway to see if the vaccines are safe and effective in children younger than 16.</p> <h3>When Should I Call the Doctor?</h3> <p>If you have any doubts or questions, it's best to call your doctor. An illness that seems like a cold can turn out to be the flu or COVID-19. And other illnesses, like <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/strep-throat.html/">strep throat</a> or <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/pneumonia.html/">pneumonia</a>, can cause similar symptoms but need different treatment. Sometimes it's hard to know for sure which germ is causing the problem. Then, doctors might do some tests to find out.</p> <p>Get medical care right away if your child:</p> <ul> <li>seems to be getting worse</li> <li>has trouble breathing</li> <li>has a high fever</li> <li>has a bad headache</li> <li>has a sore throat</li> <li>seems confused</li> <li>has severe belly pain</li> <li>has pain or pressure in the chest</li> <li>has trouble staying awake</li> <li>looks bluish in the lips or face</li> </ul> <p>Call your doctor right away if your child has <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/asthma-basics.html/">asthma</a> or another illness and starts to feel sick with symptoms that might be the flu or COVID-19. The doctor might want to do some tests or start a specific medicine for the flu.</p> <h3>What Can Parents Do?</h3> <p>Common steps that help <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/fighting-germs.html/">prevent the spread of germs</a> also work well against the common cold, the flu, and COVID-19. It's always wise to:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hand-washing.html/">Wash hands</a> well and often. Wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.</li> <li>Avoid people who appear sick.</li> <li>Clean surfaces that get touched a lot (like doorknobs, counters, phones, etc.).</li> </ul> <p>During the coronavirus pandemic, everyone in your family also should:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Avoid large crowds and busy places.</li> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coronavirus-social-distancing.html/">Stay at least 6 feet</a> from people they don't live with.</li> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/mask-care.html/">Wear a mask</a> when in public (all adults and kids over 2 years old).</li> <li>Try not to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.</li> <li>Get a flu vaccine every year (for anyone 6 months of age and older).</li> <li>Get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible.</li> </ul> <p>Keep your child home if they're sick or were near someone who is infected with COVID-19. Talk to your doctor about when it's OK for your child to go back to school or childcare.</p>¿Es un resfriado, una gripe o COVID-19?Su hijo tiene dolor de garganta, tos y fiebre alta. ¿Es COVID-19? ¿Podría ser la gripe? ¿O simplemente un resfriado? A continuación, se ofrecen algunos consejos sobre la identificación de síntomas y qué hacer.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/es/parents/flu-vs-cold-esp.html/2b725a89-0b5f-4ffc-90d9-e4ca374a13cd
ColdsColds are the most common infectious disease in the United States - and the top reason kids visit the doctor and miss school.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cold.html/b9edc12e-0507-49ec-84a9-b00b20e89827
Coping With ColdsMost teens get between two and four colds each year. Read this article for the facts on colds and ways to feel better when you catch one.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/colds.html/dd5a6c53-60f6-4e16-ad82-61dddcad1910
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: What to Do if Your Child Is SickThere's still much to learn about COVID-19. Still, parents wonder what to do if their child gets sick during the pandemic. Here's what doctors say to do if your child has coronavirus symptoms.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coronavirus-child-is-sick.html/9f829172-fa90-4c78-b539-04b38b4becfe
Coronavirus (COVID-19): How You Can Make a DifferenceAll over the world, people are staying home due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Social distancing is something we all can do to make a big difference. It's not easy, but these tips can help.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/coronavirus-calm.html/bd70321a-8dce-4744-a5cd-d68993672738
Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to Quarantine or Isolate at HomeSomeone with a positive coronavirus test is infected and is contagious. They will need to stay home to prevent the virus from spreading to others. Here's how to quarantine or isolate at home.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coronavirus-how-to-quarantine.html/d639bcd8-1870-49d3-a850-c61cf0f67543
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Is it Safe to Send Kids Back to School?Parents are wondering whether it's safe to send their kids back to school during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Here are some things to think about as you decide.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coronavirus-school.html/78fb9154-0edc-49e4-b0a5-401c880fb2cf
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Is it Safe to Send My Kids to Childcare?Many parents are wondering if it's OK to send kids to childcare during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some things to know before making a choice.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coronavirus-childcare-camps.html/0537af83-8ae4-43f2-b4c4-c2eb1764669e
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Kids and MasksWearing masks helps to slow the spread of COVID-19. Some toddlers and young children may feel uneasy about masks. Here's how to reassure your child.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coronavirus-masks.html/69838240-3140-46b2-8c13-443cad52391d
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Social Distancing With ChildrenMore and more people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19. But for now, it is safest to keep social distancing when out in public. Here's what that means.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coronavirus-social-distancing.html/fba9b534-645e-472e-879d-8ea3c488fecd
Coronavirus (COVID-19): What Do Quarantine and Isolation Mean?Some people with COVID-19 might need to stay home and away from others for a set time. This is known as isolation or quarantine. Find out what this means.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coronavirus-isolation-quarantine.html/dded4db6-7a73-4fe5-9bed-e681e4d915d5
Coronavirus: What Kids Can DoHere are the 4 best ways everyone (including kids) can help stop coronavirus.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/coronavirus-kids.html/c7e537cf-9372-4609-9cd1-f54e8eaca7bc
FeversFevers happen when the body's internal "thermostat" raises the body temperature above normal. This is often the body's way of fighting infections.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/fever.html/42ab5a5d-1c03-493e-acf5-0ac569d1b946
First Aid: Common ColdKids can get up to eight colds a year - or more. The common cold sends more kids to the doctor than any other illness.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/common-cold-sheet.html/f9dd685a-6973-4a14-bf84-2fbfc63dd908
First Aid: The FluTelltale signs of the flu include a sore throat, body aches and fever. Here's what to do if your child has the flu.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/flu-sheet.html/70184e8f-67e8-4421-a73f-005d6365fd09
FluThe flu is a virus that can make you sick for a week or longer. Find out more in this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/flu.html/526672bd-97aa-48f7-a785-4bb0842737b2
Flu CenterThe flu can make you sick for a week or more. Find out how to get protected from the influenza virus.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/center/flu-center.html/6d7ab47a-521c-4a09-ada9-fb1035a675be
Flu FactsEvery year from October to May, millions of people across the United States come down with the flu. Get the facts on the flu - including how to feel better if you get it.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/flu.html/acfdcf98-fcf2-42a4-85c2-9285c6192eec
The Flu (Influenza)Flu symptoms tend to come on quickly and are worse than the sneezing and stuffiness of a cold. The flu is very contagious. Find out what to do in this article for parents. https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/flu.html/dfdd8061-bafc-4f1f-97dd-884d29a5f6e3
The Flu: Stop the SpreadFollow these tips to help prevent the spread of the flu.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/flu-spread.html/240e4b54-f6fd-4938-aa81-88a652d54e1b
Tips for Treating the FluHere are some quick tips for helping your child get over the flu.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/tips-take-care.html/ec0c9969-c28f-4cc3-8f19-68619e1093fe
Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?The flu vaccine is a good idea for all families. It does not cause the flu, and it helps keep kids and parents from getting sick.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/flu-vaccine-good.html/81dd15c9-6537-4919-b93d-4d10334673cc
kh:age-allAgesOrAgeAgnostickh:clinicalDesignation-generalPediatricskh:genre-articlekh:primaryClinicalDesignation-NAAll About Fluhttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/flu-center/flu-center-about/cc610808-b520-4002-90e6-5dab1a0ebcdaSick Kidshttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/general/sick/3c1c9be2-f915-4f76-baac-ad2943a5a8e6Cold & Flu Reviewhttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/infections/cold-flu-review/1396df9e-4f6e-4b0e-9616-83ad14091708Common Childhood Infectionshttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/infections/common/e4866969-66b0-471f-a791-8849a3764018