Children and the Flu
There are a lot of misconceptions about the term “flu.” People often refer to a stomach bug as “the flu,” however, influenza is a respiratory illness caused by a virus.

Parents might find it challenging to determine whether their son or daughter has the flu or the common cold. Cold symptoms are typically milder than those from the flu. But, because symptoms differ from child to child, monitoring your child’s signs and behavior is important in the prevention of more serious complications.   

Does my child have the flu or a cold?
It can be difficult to determine if your child has the flu or just a cold. However, there are common symptoms to determine whether your child has the flu or a cold.

  • Children with the flu often have high fevers; a cold will usually result in only a mild fever, if one at all.
  • Flu symptoms often come on suddenly; cold symptoms present more gradually.
  • A headache is a common flu symptom, but not as frequently with a cold.
  • Children with the flu will often experience chills and muscle aches.
  • The flu will cause children to become severely lethargic; the common cold will only mildly impact energy levels.
  • Appetite levels are usually decreased during a pediatric influenza infection; children with the cold often have the same appetite as when they are healthy.

Based on the symptoms above, you will be better able to assess the cause of your child’s illness. But, as previously mentioned, symptoms vary and can change as the illness progresses—close monitoring is important.

When should I take my child to the doctor?
Healthy children can have complications from the pediatric flu; children with preexisting medical conditions are at even greater risk.  If you suspect your child has pediatric influenza, you should visit a physician. The doctor will need to test to be sure it is, in fact, influenza.  Learn about flu prevention methods here.

Additionally, some infections present similar symptoms as influenza. These include strep throat and bacterial pneumonia. It is important the doctor tests for these illnesses to prevent complications.

Pediatric Flu Vaccine Study
Jean Brown Research is conducting a clinical research study for an investigational pediatric flu vaccine. Eligible participants will receive a no-cost flu vaccination, study-related healthcare, and compensation for time and travel.

Basic qualifications include: healthy children between 6 months and 5 years of age who have never received a flu shot and can attend three appointments.

Register to see if your child is eligible for the Jean Brown Research Pediatric Flu study.