Colds and flu may be the most common illnesses affecting children, but as every parent knows, these familiar infections lead to a lot of misery. At Seashore Pediatrics, Catherine Meli, MD and Naheed Rahmet, MD take every step to ease your child’s symptoms and prevent potential complications, especially those caused by the flu. If you’re not sure whether your child has a cold or the flu, call the office in Wall Township, New Jersey, or book an appointment online.
The common cold, or upper respiratory infection, is caused by a virus that affects tissues lining the nose and throat, leading to inflammation and infection.
Children can catch a cold as viruses spread through the air when someone who’s sick sneezes and coughs. It also spreads through direct contact, so your child can pick up a cold by touching another child or by sharing contaminated objects like toys.
The symptoms of a cold usually start 1-3 days after your child comes into contact with the virus, then they last about one week.
Most children have at least 6-8 colds a year, but they’re likely to have more than that if they go to daycare. On the positive side, children get fewer colds after the age of six.
The flu is also caused by a virus that’s passed through the air and with direct contact, although the viruses that cause the flu are different than those responsible for the common cold.
The flu is most contagious beginning one day before symptoms appear and while symptoms still exist. In most cases, the risk of spreading the infection ends around the seventh day of the illness.
Since the flu can lead to serious complications, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all children six months and older get an annual flu vaccine.
The symptoms of a cold usually develop gradually. By comparison, children with the flu tend to get sick suddenly. Here are a few of the other key differences between a common cold and the flu:
To get the care your child needs for a cold or the flu, call Seashore Pediatrics, or book an appointment online.