Is It A Cold Versus Flu And What To Do?

As much as I look forward to the cooler fall and winter months, I do not look forward to cold and flu season that comes along with it. (No one does!) Whether it is a cold versus flu, getting sick is no fun. But how do you know the difference? Perhaps more importantly, how can you help your little ones feel better when they get sick.

Cold versus Flu

This post is sponsored as part of my ongoing partnership with Kids Urgent Care. Just in time for cold and flu season I have tips to share to get you through. 

Is It A Cold Versus Flu?

So is it a just a cold or the dreaded flu? There are a lot of similarities between a cold and the flu, but there are some big difference to keep in mind when trying to figure out if it’s a cold versus flu.

F.A.C.T.S. – When it comes to the flu, look for the following F.A.C.T.S. — fever, aches, chills, tiredness and sudden onset are classic indicators of the flu. 

Severity – Although both a cold and the flu can leave you feeling awful with fatigue, chest discomfort, body aches and a headache, the flu is characterized by its severity. 

Hard and Fast – When symptoms come on in a matter of a few hours, instead of building over the course of several days, it is a strong sign that you may have the flu. People with a flu virus may feel fine in the morning and completely incapacitated by dinnertime.

Prevention for both colds and the flu include good hand washing and covering when you cough or sneeze. But the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu is by getting a flu shot. At Kids Urgent Care kids annual flu vaccination are offered for $30. 

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Home Remedies For Kids

Although colds and flus feel different, treatment for them is similar. If, or rather when, a cold or flu finds its way into your home, here are some ideas to help your little ones find relief from the discomfort and yucky symptoms. 

Push liquids – Liquids can help break up mucus, and it is important keep little ones from getting dehydrated.

Give them something to suck on – Even when they are too sick to smile, offering my daughters an ice pop cheers them up a bit. Not only does it soothe a sore throat, but it tastes good too! Ice chips also work well, but are not quite as tasty. 

Squirt of saline – Saline nose spray is a great way to help clear out a stuffy nose. And it is safe enough for baby noses too. 

Cool-mist humidifier or steamy shower – Another way to help break up mucus (in the head and chest) is with steam. A cool-mist humidifier or steamy shower can really help your little one to breathe better. 

Tylenol – When a fever has kids feeling generally crummy (and irritable) Tylenol or ibuprofen can help take the edge off. But remember, the fever is fighting for your child too, so when they start to feel better ease off the medicine.  

TLC – The number one then your kids need is lots of TLC. Take advantage of this chance for some extra snuggles and pop in a good movie — just wash your hands well after. 

Here’s to hoping cold and flu season doesn’t hit home too hard this year. If home remedies aren’t enough to help your child get through, or they are having trouble breathing, remember Kids Urgent Care is now open in Winter Park and Lake Mary. And it is open late (11 pm) long after your child’s primary care physician’s office has closed — even on Christmas.


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  1. Richard Hicks says:

    Lots of good info here. Always good to refresh oneself

  2. Good refresher course. Definitely important to drink tons of fluids, and not just water. Also, homemade chicken soup can’t be beat – you need that gelatin/fat, none of that fat-free stuff

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