This advice is for children over 6 months old. If your baby is less than 6 months old, call your doctor.
Colds have many symptoms all at the same time:
Make sure your child gets lots of rest and drinks plenty of liquids. Anitbiotics won't help. Treat the symptoms with over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If the cold isn't gone in 7 days, call the doctor for an appointment.
The flu has the same symptoms as colds, but worse – higher fevers (102°-104°F), worse body aches.
If your child might have the flu, call your doctor for an appointment. If taken early, anti-flu drugs may help. To prevent flu each year, get your child a flu shot, especially if your child has special health care needs.
Some infections come with a high fever (103°-104°F) and have symptoms in only one spot. For instance, strep throat is a very sore throat without a runny nose or dry cough. A sinus infection is a very stuffy nose with facial pain. Pneumonia comes with a deep, wet cough.
Call your doctor for an appointment. Antibiotics can help some infections. Make sure your child gets lots of rest and clear liquids.