Your child has been sneezing, coughing and blowing his nose for the past few days?
Is it a cold or flu or allergies?
In this post, I will share some good information I got from my pediatrician about this topic.
With similar symptoms for all these conditions, it could be a tough call. But if you look closely and understand the differences, then it would be easier for you to choose the right treatment for your child.
Flu and allergies both affect the respiratory system, making it difficult to breathe.
While flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by different types of influenza viruses, allergies are non-contagious and are caused as a result of your body’s immune response to some kind of a trigger or allergen.
Let’s understand a bit more about the characteristics and symptoms of the two conditions.
Characteristics of Flu
- Caused by viruses
- May last for 3 to 14 days
- Mostly happens during the winter season, but is possible any time of the year.
- Symptoms may be mild to severe and usually appear a few days after the virus infection.
- Usually accompanied by fever and body ache.
Characteristics of Allergies
- Caused by allergens like pollen, pet dander etc
- Lasts as long as you are in contact with the allergen or allergy trigger
- Can occur any time of the year
- Symptoms show immediately as soon as your body is exposed to the allergens
Symptoms of Flu
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Yellowish nasal discharge due to infection
- Sore throat
- Headache and body aches
- Lack of energy
Symptoms of Allergy
- Persistent sneezing
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Thin, watery nasal discharge
- Repeated ear and sinus infections
- Frequent throat clearing, hoarseness, wheezing or coughing
If your child has flu, he needs plenty of fluids and rest. You can also give him acetaminophen or ibuprofen to get relief from the symptoms.
Your pediatrician may prescribe an antiviral remedy if you consult him within 48 hours after symptoms start.
This will help decrease the flu’s duration. If symptoms don’t decrease after a week, make sure to call your doctor.
For allergies, oral antihistamines like Benadryl and Claritin, and intranasal steroid nose sprays, such as Flonase can help relieve the symptoms. Make sure to consult your doctor before using these medications.
The similar symptoms of flu and allergy makes it hard to diagnose what your child is suffering from. But by being aware of the differences, appropriate treatment can be given quickly so that you can cut short the duration of the illness and suffering endured by your child.