Does my child have allergies, COVID, cold or flu?

By Carmen Ochoa

Spring is officially here! Along with the onset of spring, allergies are also starting to resurface. However, at Cook Children’s there has been an increase in flu cases at CCHCS over the past month and the cold season is not over yet along with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Let’s see how to tell if your child has a cold, flu, allergies or COVID-19.

At this point, your child’s sneezing, coughing, or fever can only clarify which of the four it could be.

“Even though it’s spring, parents should be aware that some of those winter viruses are still circulating. There are still a lot of viral respiratory illnesses that we associate with winter,” said Bianka Soria-Olmos, DO, a pediatrician at Cook Children’s Haslet Office. “In Texas, the weather isn’t full in the spring. It’s still cold outside some days.”


Allergies are caused by pollen and the environment.

“Allergies usually don’t have any of the symptoms that viruses usually cause fever, body aches or a general general ill feeling,” said Dr. Soria-Olmos. “Most children with allergies go about their normal day, regardless of the nuance of the symptoms. The overlap makes it confusing.”

Cold, flu or COVID?

Cold, flu, and COVID symptoms are very similar. The main way to tell the difference is by testing.

Each of these is a virus that affects the body and can affect the way children behave. Fever is the most common symptom to check between the common cold, flu, and COVID-19.

Colds and flu are usually accompanied by additional symptoms such as loss of appetite, fatigue, chills, etc. Sometimes you can have a cold without fever. Flu usually causes an increase in temperature.

Parents of children under 2 years old should contact their pediatrician if the fever lasts longer than 48 to 72 hours. This is to help determine if the doctor needs to see the child and if a parent can continue supportive care at home.

While we’ve seen fewer cases of COVID-19 in the community, it’s still something to consider as a cause of fever, cough, and stuffy nose or sore throat.

“Testing is the most important way to help us determine between different causes of similar symptoms,” said Dr. Soria-Olmos.

Dr. Soria-Olmos encourages parents to talk to their pediatrician about how to treat their child and get to the root of their symptoms.



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Does my child have allergies, COVID, cold or flu?

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