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Colds and the flu - what to ask your doctor - child

Cold remedies

Definition

Many different germs, called viruses, cause colds. Symptoms of the common cold include:

The flu is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by the influenza virus.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your child's health care provider to help you take care of your child with a cold or the flu.

Alternative Names

What to ask your doctor about colds and the flu - child; Influenza - what to ask your doctor - child; Upper respiratory infection - what to ask your doctor - child; URI - what to ask your doctor - child; Swine flu (H1N1) - what to ask your doctor - child

Questions

What are the symptoms of a cold? What are the symptoms of the flu? How can I tell them apart?

Can other people become sick from being around my child? How can I prevent that? What should I do if I have other young children at home? How about somebody who is elderly?

When will my child start to feel better? When should I worry if my child's symptoms have not gone away?

What should my child eat or drink? How much? How will I know if my child is not drinking enough?

What medicines can I buy at the store to help with my child's symptoms?

Will antibiotics make my child's symptoms go away faster? Are there medicines that can make the flu go away faster?

How can I keep my child from getting a cold or the flu?

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Flu: what to do if you get sick. www.cdc.gov/flu/treatment/takingcare.htm. Updated February 28, 2019. Accessed August 7, 2019.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm. Updated October 21, 2019. Accessed October 28, 2019.

Havers FP, Campbell AJP. Influenza viruses. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 258.

Miller EK, Williams JV. The common cold. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 379.


Review Date: 10/18/2017
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. 10-28-19: Editorial update.