Common Colds vs Flu

A runny nose or a slight cough is generally not a sign that your child needs to stay home from school. However, if they are experiencing additional symptoms or don't feel well enough to be able to concentrate and participate at school it may be best to keep them at home. Remember that a child should stay home with a temperature that is 100º F or higher without medication, or if he/she has nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

The common cold and the flu both have similar symptoms which affect the respiratory system. In general the symptoms of the flu are more severe than the cold. Below is a brief guideline from the CDC on the different symptoms and how they vary. If you become ill and are unsure if you have a cold or influenza contact your primary care provider.

 Fever  Occasional  102º – 104º F; lasts 3 – 4 days
 Headache  Rare  Prominent
 Aches and pains  Slight  Usual, often severe
 Fatigue  Mild  Can last 2 to 3 weeks
 Extreme exhaustion  Never  Early and prominent
 Stuffy nose  Common  Sometimes
 Sneezing  Usual  Sometimes
 Sore throat  Common  Sometimes
 Cough  Mild to moderate  Can be severe
 Complications  Sinus congestion  Bronchitis, pneumonia;
 can be life threatening