Thursday, November 6, 2014

IS IT A COLD OR THE FLU?

Today is Day 4 that my little guy is home sick.  What started out as a headache after his hockey game, turned into a fever and the ever popular, "it's a virus," you can't do much about it! (Oh! how I hate it when my kids are sick.) 

In my experience, I have noticed that almost every time my kids are sick, they go through a growth spurt.   I have not taken my son to the doctor yet because his fever has not been over 101 nor is he experiencing severe symptoms.  Not that I am against medical advice or attention but often times, our "mommy instincts" and experience can do our kids a whole lot better, than long-dreadful waits at the doctors office.  (Note:  if your child is very ill and shows no signs of getting better in a few days or has an extremely high temperature, please seek medical attention immediately.)

When Should You Definitely Seek Medical Attention?


Seek medical attention immediately if you or your child experience any of the following:
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

I have been treating my son's fever sporadically, because I know you are suppose to let a fever "run its course," as long as it is not too high.  He has been in the 100.7 to 101.5 range, so I only gave him Tylenol when his headache gets too bad at night.

If your child has a fever, call the doctor if he/she:
  • Is listless or irritable, vomits repeatedly, has a severe headache or stomachache, or has any other symptoms causing significant discomfort.
  • Has a fever after being left in a hot car. Seek medical care immediately.
  • Has a fever that lasts longer than three days (in children age 2 and older).
  • Appears listless and has poor eye contact with you

The last few days, my son's only symptom has been a fever, but this morning, he slept more than he has slept in his whole life! Well, you know what I mean!  I was kind of freaking out and kept checking on him every ten minutes.  No fever, just lots of sleep.

I couldn't take it anymore and finally, around 11:00a.m, I went in and woke him up and made him drink some Gatorade, so he does not get dehydrated.  I know he is feeling better, because he looked at me with his pale little face and lips and said, "Mommy, when I wake up fully, can we go to Dunkin' Donuts?"  I will take that as a good sign!

I know a cold takes time, usually 7-10 days but sometimes I worry about the flu, because although the flu and common cold have similar symptoms, the flu tends to be more severe. The flu can lead to serious complications ranging from sinus infections to life-threatening pneumonia, so I did my research to make sure I don't miss any of the signs or symptoms.

Here they are, in case you too were wondering.

SYMPTOMS OF THE FLU:

  • A 100F or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
  • A cough and/or sore throat.
  • A runny or stuffy nose.
  • Headaches and/or body aches.
  • Chills.
  • Fatigue.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF A COLD:

  • Runny nose.
  • Sneezing.
  • Cough.
  • Mild headache.
  • Mild body aches.
  • Fever.
  • Occasional sore throat
 

The symptoms tend to be quite similar but with the flu, there tends to be "chills" and nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children.)

In general, the flu is worse than the common cold. Symptoms such as fever, body aches, tiredness, and cough are more common and intense with the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.

For now, I am giving my son lots of fluids and allowing him plenty of rest - and yes, he still has to do his homework from home! 

Note:  I know he is feeling better because as I finished this article, he was in the living room "stick-handling" practicing for his hockey game (he hopes to be better for this coming weekend!)

Good luck and stay healthy Warriors! 


Sources:  
Flu.gov
Mayo Clinic



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