Covid-19 or the Flu?

When it comes to children, it’s not always easy to tell. Here are a few pointers to help you make the best decisions for your child.

It is now influenza season. Each year influenza starts popping up in Arizona around November or December, charges through January, February and March, then slowly becomes less of a problem through Spring and Summer… only to come back again in the winter and start the cycle all over again.

Your grandmother or auntie, rightfully so, will tell you to wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, drink plenty of water, eat healthy, get a good night’s rest, and a bowl of chicken soup will get you through. And your pediatrician will add “Get your Flu vaccine!” to complete the good advice.

However, this year is a bit different. Covid-19 came to visit and shows no signs of leaving for some time. While hopefully you are wearing you mask, going out only when necessary, and following the same advice as above, Covid-19 is very sneaky and just may find itself in your home.

With influenza and Covid-19 hanging around at the same time, how do we, as parents, tell the difference? It isn’t always easy, but here’s some good information from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help you make the best decision.

You might have noticed that there are very little differences between the two, and you’re right. So what’s a worried parent to do?

It is best to call or make a same day telehealth appointment with your pediatrician as soon as you notice any of the above symptoms. Make sure you let him or her know of any possible exposure to Covid-19. Based on this, your pediatrician may recommend an influenza test, a Covid-19 test, or both. In more worrisome situations, your pediatrician may direct you to seek medical evaluation.

There are medications available which may help, so don’t delay this call. Your pediatrician will also instruct you on whether to isolate your child or not, and how long they will be contagious. You will also be told to watch for more serious complications requiring urgent medical evaluation.

Most cases of influenza and Covid-19 are mild in children. But be aware that both can cause serious illness so stay in touch with your pediatrician until the illness has passed.

What can you do right now? If your child is 6 months of age or older, get them immunized for influenza right away. One less illness to worry about can make this worrisome winter a little easier for all. And please, follow grandma’s (and your pediatrician’s) advice!