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

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 doctor or nurse 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

Wright PF. Influenza viruses. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 250.

Turner RB, Hayden GF. The common cold. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 371.

Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm. Updated August 14, 2014. Accessed August 18, 2014.

The flu: what to do if you get sick. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/takingcare.htm. Updated August 14, 2014. Accessed August 18, 2014.


Review Date: 12/4/2013
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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