Cold & Flu Guide

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Understanding Cold and Flu

Sniffles, stuffies and snotties plaguing your family? We asked Dr. Mary Ann LoFromento, a New York pediatrician and author of the Simply Parenting series, and Dr. Joanne Embree, a Winnipeg pediatrician, to fill us in on the facts about colds and flu.

Can’t tell if it’s a cold or flu? Check these symptoms:

Cold

Length: Usually lasts about 9-10 days. Treat colds with the 3-3-3 rule: it takes three days to arrive, three days to stay and three days to leave.

Symptoms: A runny nose (the fluid starts out clear, but can develop into a thick, green mucous that can become crusty); a deep cough with no chest pain. Mild sore throat.

Fever: A fever may develop: 103-104 in babies and toddlers; low-grade (generally under 101) in older children and adults.

Anything else? Watch for green or yellow mucous oozing out from the eyes, which is a sign of an eye infection.

Flu

Length: Usually lasts about 7-10 days, although both coughing and fatigue can hang around for another two to three weeks.

Symptoms: No runny nose, but there will be a hacking cough and possibly chest pain; plus general achiness, sore muscles and pain behind the eyes.

Fever: Yes, and it tends to linger.

Anything else? While colds take a few days to make their entrance, flus hit fast and hard. Flu symptoms that are similar to cold symptoms (such as cough and fever) are also often felt more intensely. Children under age 3 may also have nausea and diarrhea.

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