How Different Are The Symptoms Of The Flu And COVID-19 In Kids?

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As parents and caretakers, keeping our families safe and healthy is always a priority. As we approach flu season this year and continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your children from exposure to illness. The caring team at Health Services of North Texas (HSNT) is committed to providing exceptional service for patients across Denton, Wylie, and Plano, TX, including helping parents understand what signs and symptoms in children may require prompt testing and treating for either COVID-19 and/or the flu.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 in kids?

By now, most of us are familiar with the most common symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. However, these symptoms can be caused by a variety of other conditions, making it difficult to determine whether or not you have COVID-19 without a definitive test. Furthermore, some patients who are infected with COVID-19 are completely asymptomatic. It is important to note that even asymptomatic COVID-19 patients can spread the virus to others. When it comes to children specifically, COVID-19 symptoms are generally milder and shorter-lived compared with adults, though some children can become severely ill with COVID-19. Most commonly, COVID-19 symptoms in children include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle ache
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell

How can I tell if my child has COVID or flu?

Because many of the symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza are shared or similar, it can be challenging to determine with certainty which virus your child may have been exposed to. While official testing is the only certain way to confirm your child’s illness, there are some signs and symptoms that are more unique to each particular virus:

Signs and symptoms more common with COVID-19:

  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Symptoms develop 2 – 14 days after exposure

Signs and symptoms more common with COVID-19:

  • Chills
  • Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
  • Nasal congestion/runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Symptoms develop 1 – 4 days after exposure

If you believe that you or your child may have been exposed to the flu virus or COVID-19, it is important to obtain a diagnosis and proper treatment, if warranted. HSNT is proud to offer on-site COVID-19 testing and flu testing in Denton and Collin counties for symptomatic patients. While you await your results, you should stay self-isolated to avoid possible spread to others.

How can I protect my kids from COVID-19?

As scientists and medical professionals work to finalize an effective COVID-19 vaccine, it is important to continue following the CDC’s health and safety guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19, including:

  • Practice social distancing
  • Avoid groups and gatherings, especially indoors
  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Use hand sanitizer when available
  • Disinfect and sanitize high-traffic surfaces frequently
  • Monitor yourself and others for symptoms

Fortunately, many of the safety measures that help to slow the spread of COVID-19 also reduce your risk of exposure to the flu and other viruses. In addition, the flu vaccine is highly effective and is recommended for most adults and children over the age of six months. To maximize the vaccine’s efficacy, patients are encouraged to get the flu shot as early in the season as possible.

Know what signs and symptoms may warrant flu and COVID-19 testing for kids in North Texas

By recognizing the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, the flu, and other illnesses, parents can act quickly to obtain testing and treatment, or care for their children. With six convenient locations in DFW, including Denton, Wylie, and Plano, Health Services of North Texas offers rapid, reliable, and accurate flu and COVID-19 testing for children and adults as well as the flu vaccine, symptom care, and other services. If you believe that your child may have been exposed to illness this flu season, call our welcoming team to schedule your appointment for evaluation, testing, and care today. We look forward to helping keep you and your family safe and healthy this season.