The end of winter is in sight, but that means nothing to this virus. "Even though outbreaks happen as early October, influenza often peaks in late winter," says Bridget Boyd, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. In other words, your little sickie might not have a run-of-the-mill cold after all. To help her decipher her symptoms, take our quiz*. Then try expert feel-better tips.
Is It a Cold or the Flu?
To find out, consider the questions below. If you answer yes more than no, your kid likely has the flu.
1. Did your kiddo get sick suddenly?
2. Does she have a fever of 101°F or higher?
3. Is she very tired?
4. Does she have a dry cough (as opposed to one that’s mucus-y)?
5. Is her appetite decreased?
6. Any chills or aches?
How to get better, fast:
Tea and honey: “Honey has antimicrobial properties, and it coasts an irritated throat. Decaf lemon tea adds vitamin C to boost the immune system.” – Dyan Hes, M.D., pediatrician, New York City
Strip down: “Bring a fever down quickly by having kids strip down to their underwear.” – Todd Patton, M.D., family physician, Yonkers, NY
Gatorade: “Pour it over crushed ice, and have kids eat it with a spoon, like a snow cone.” – Julie Graves, M.D., family physician, Georgetown, TX
FOR RUNNY NOSES
Saline: “To ease a stuffy nose, I have kids use a saline gel nasal spray (one spray each nostril) three times a day.” – Catherine Marshall, M.D., pediatrician, Encino, CA
* This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you believe you have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.