During the winter, nearly every parent worries about the flu (influenza). If your child comes home sick with a sore throat and runny nose, how can you tell whether it’s the flu or a common cold virus?
Both flu and the common cold are caused by upper respiratory viruses, so the symptoms can be similar. But the hallmark of the flu is that it’s generally much more severe, with a higher fever that typically lasts longer, muscle aches, headache and cough.
Cold viruses, in contrast, typically cause a runny nose, sore throat, cough and a lower fever, if they cause any fever at all.