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Flu vs. COVID Frequently Asked Questions

​How do you know if your child has the flu or COVID?

As we progress into the fall, child illnesses will continue to happen. With the addition of flu and cold season, there are many respiratory illnesses floating around. The flu and COVID have very similar symptoms. However, COVID symptoms vary greatly based on the individual while flu symptoms are typically the same from person to person. You should contact your pediatrician if your child has a prolonged fever, is having a hard time breathing or not eating or drinking enough.

Will a flu shot protect my child from COVID?

The flu vaccine will only protect against the influenza virus, not the COVID virus.  Children 6 months of age and older can receive a flu shot.

Is it more important to get the flu shot this year than in previous years?

While it is important to receive the flu shot every year, this year it is extremely important. Getting a flu shot this year will not only help minimize the risk of the flu but will help keep up the immune system to fight other viruses or illnesses, including COVID.

If an individual were to get the flu, it could compromise their immune and respiratory systems making it harder for them to combat both the flu and COVID. Having both at the same time may make the symptoms worse. Therefore, it is extremely important for all individuals who can get the flu shot this year to receive it.

When is the best time to get the flu shot?

The best time to receive the flu shot is when it becomes available at your doctor or pediatrician's office. After receiving the flu shot, it takes a couple weeks for the vaccine to gain its effectiveness. The sooner the shot is received, the sooner the individual is protected.

How do I prevent infections?

Since COVID and the flu are spread the same way, the best way to prevent both is to continue the precautions you have been taking. Washing hands with soap and water, or hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, covering your coughs, avoiding large crowds, staying away from sick individuals and wearing a mask will help prevent infecting yourself and others.

If you suspect your child has the flu or COVID, contact your pediatrician.

Danielle Empson, M.D. Explains Flu vs. Covid

Dr. Danielle Empson, pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics, explains the similarities and differences in flu and COVID-19 symptoms, along with why it is important to get a flu shot this year.

COVID-19;Illness and Injury;Cold and Flu Flu Clinic;Internal Medicine;Pediatrics