Symptoms aren’t enough to know the difference between flu and COVID-19

Flu and COVID-19 symptoms can be the same, leading to confusion and anxiety for parents with children feeling under the weather.

Flu and COVID-19 symptoms can be the same, leading to confusion and anxiety for parents with children feeling under the weather.

If your child experiences symptoms such as a fever and cough — or if you do — here are some steps to help prevent the spread:

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Get rest and stay hydrated
  • Stay in touch with your health care provider. Trouble breathing is a sign of an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation or ride sharing.
  • At home, keep the sick person away from other people and pets as much as possible and use a separate bathroom if possible.
  • Let all of your close contacts know about a possible infection so they can take steps to protect others.

Flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines

Flu vaccines are available at pediatricians’ offices for children 6 months old and older. COVID-19 vaccines or tests can be scheduled online for anyone ages 12 or older.

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COVID-19 can’t be diagnosed based on symptoms alone. A test is needed to confirm whether a child has COVID-19, the flu or something else entirely.

Because they haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19, children under 12 should quarantine immediately after exposure to someone with COVID-19.

Flu shots have started arriving at Norton Children’s Medical Group pediatricians’ offices. Vaccines for flu and COVID-19 can be administered to eligible patients in the same visit.

Overlapping COVID-19 and flu symptoms

  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache

One frequent symptom of COVID-19 that doesn’t usually come with flu is loss of sense of taste or smell.

Emergency warning signs of any viral infection

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

Reviewed by Kristina A. Bryant, M.D., hospital epidemiologist for Norton Children’s Hospital and an infectious diseases physician with Norton Children’s Infectious Diseases.


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COVID-19 Vaccines

Norton Children’s has opened COVID-19 vaccination appointments for kids ages 12 and older.
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COVID-19 Tests

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Call (502) 861-4611, option 1

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