Childhood Cold Or Flu - Do You Know The Difference?

It's the time of year when colds and flu are doing the rounds in schools and nurseries across Lincolnshire.

But as a parent how do you tell the difference? Symptoms of a cold include a runny or blocked nose, sore throat, sneezing and cough. Flu includes sudden fever, muscle aches, sweating, feeling exhausted and a dry or chesty cough. Although both illnesses share some of the same symptoms they are caused by different viruses.

Many people think flu is just a bad cold - it's not. Flu can cause serious complications. Every year some children with flu become extremely ill and many of these would have been protected if only they had received their flu vaccination.

Sarah Packwood, Immunisation Programme Lead at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) said: "If your child is showing symptoms of a cold or flu, the best thing you can do is make sure they have lots of rest and fluids. Talk to the pharmacist about over the counter remedies. Antibiotics will not help.

"Keep your child home and away from friends or family members that are over 65, are pregnant or have a long-term health condition so they do not pass it on. And if you need advice when the pharmacists are closed call 111 to talk to the NHS and you'll be advised of the best course of action."

The school nursing childhood vaccination program which is run by LCHS has ended for this winter but children aged two, three and four may still be able to receive the vaccination at a GP surgery. Older children with specific medical conditions, for example asthma or diabetes, should also be vaccinated. For most children the vaccine is a nasal spray not an injection. 

Vaccinating the majority of children can help stop flu circulating among the wider population, protecting not just your own child, but those the child comes into contact with such as grandparents who may be more vulnerable.