Symptoms to watch for and what parents need to know

There is nothing new about a child coming home from school in November with a runny, stuffy nose or cough. But for parents, the stakes seem particularly high right now: Is it just a common cold? flu? Or are these the warning signs of RSV or COVID?

why does it matter: Some of the symptoms of influenza, respiratory virus, and coronavirus are relatively similar, which makes it difficult for parents to distinguish between illnesses as cases are increasing nationwide.

  • And many Americans may be too exhausted from the coronavirus to worry about the reality of a “triple pandemic,” Axios’ Adrielle Bettelheim reports.

Zoom out: Care could also be affected by a national shortage of healthcare workers, exacerbating hospital workloads.

  • Here’s an overview of RSV, flu and COVID-19 symptoms in children – and what parents should know.
Symptoms of RSV in children
  • RSV is very contagious and a common illness in children, most of whom have been infected with RSV by their second birthday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Symptoms include a runny nose, decreased appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing, according to the CDC.
  • Most RSV infections clear up within a week or two, but the CDC recommends that parents contact a healthcare provider if their child is “having trouble breathing, is not drinking enough fluids, or has symptoms that are getting worse.”
  • RSV symptoms usually come on gradually and appear within 4 to 6 days after infection.
Symptoms of influenza in children
  • Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly, which is perhaps their biggest distinction from RSV, according to Health Partners.
  • Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, feeling tired, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea, according to the CDC.
  • Symptoms of a fly usually appear about 1 to 4 days after exposure to a sick person, according to HealthyChildren.org.

  • “Even healthy children can get very sick from the flu,” warns the CDC.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says parents should take their children to the emergency room if they have trouble breathing or rapid breathing, bluish lips or face, pulling ribs with each breath and chest pain, among symptoms. other.
Symptoms of COVID-19 disease in children
  • The most common symptoms of COVID-19 in children include fever and cough, but children can also experience sore throat, headache, fatigue or gastrointestinal symptoms, according to the CDC.

be clever: One of the best ways to protect your family is to stay up to date on flu and COVID vaccines.

  • The CDC also recommends that parents get their children tested if they develop symptoms, as this is the best way to find out if it is the flu or COVID-19.

Go deeper… The threat of a “triple doubling” with respiratory syncytial virus, coronavirus and influenza looms large

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