How not to be confused between flu and other infectious diseases

It is not unusual if you are a new parent to be confused between flu and other infectious respiratory diseases. The symptoms would seem the same when the child starts feeling sick. It is often unlikely that as a parent you are able to figure out if your child has the cold or the flu? Or it is because of any allergies or any other virus.


When my daughter started pre-school, she started falling sick more often. She would catch a cold instantly because it was the first time she had been exposed more to the outside environment and came in contact with more children. It is generally during the initial few years of schooling that most parents observe kids falling sick. And it is at that time we might also get confused because we are not aware about the symptoms of the flu and other infectious diseases in India.


The first and foremost thing that you do if you see any symptoms of an infectious disease in your child is to keep him at home and immediately consult a doctor. However, you should also know how to spot the difference between the various infectious diseases. The most confusing being the flu and common cold.


How to spot the difference


Common cold and flu are both caused due to viruses and both are infectious respiratory diseases. You can spot the differences by knowing about their symptoms.


Symptom Onset:

The symptoms of a common cold appear gradually, however, the symptoms during the flu show up abruptly.



If the child has common cold, fever is rare but it’s usual in case of flu.


Body Aches:

In case of common cold, a child the occurrence of body aches is slight but it’s quite usual in respect to the flu.



It’s highly uncommon to experience chills in case of common cold but its fairly common in case of flu.


Fatigue, weakness:

It’s quite rare to experience fatigue and weakness in common cold but it’s a defining symptom of flu.


Sneezing, stuffy nose and Sore throat :

Sneezing, stuffy nose and sore throat is very common while suffering from cold while in case of flu, these symptoms are only experienced sometimes by a patient.


Chest discomfort and cough:

One can experience mild to moderate symptoms of chest discomfort and cough in common cold, however, in case you are suffering from flu these are quite common symptoms. Observing this could help one to identify the difference between the both.



One rarely has headaches in case of common cold, especially children while it’s common in case of flu.


Since colds and flu share many symptoms, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two, based on symptoms alone.

However, once you are aware of these basic symptoms and the difference between the two, you would know the right time to consult the doctor. It is always advisable to consult the doctor within the first 48 hours of showing symptoms to get diagnosed and start timely treatment.


It is however very important to know that influenza vaccination can protect you and your children from having severe infections or in some cases from the infection altogether. And so one should take the annual influenza shot regularly because it can have very serious associated complications if not addressed with timely expert intervention.


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I hope this information was useful to you and provided clarity between the differences between flu and other diseases in India.


We must # because flu is preventable with vaccination.



Source of reference: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/coldflu.htm


8 thoughts on “How not to be confused between flu and other infectious diseases”

  1. Dr.Amrita Basu

    It’s definitely not easy to diagnose Flu ,just like that.Its great that you are creating awareness #PreventWhatCanBePrevented.
    Knowing about ,Flu,cold,COVID ,allergies can help people stay safe.

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