How can parents tell the difference between the flu and COVID-19? We asked pediatricians

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – As we usher in fall, it also brings thoughts to most parents of the fever, runny nose and cough season. But now parents may also wonder, are those symptoms of COVID-19? Margie Ellisor joins us with more on how to know if it’s just the common cold, flu, or COVID-19.

Unfortunately, there is not one distinguishing feature. According to the CDC the most common COVID-19 symptom in children is a cough, fever or both. Doctors say they’ve also found fever, diarrhea, or congestion in children who have tested positive.

Symptoms can also include loss of taste or smell, abdominal pain, headache, sore throat, and difficulty breathing. Does this sound familiar? Yes, these are also signs of other illnesses.

Doctors say that you should not panic. Parents know their children best. If your child always gets allergies this time of year, a runny nose is probably due to allergies. If their symptoms seem out of the ordinary then it’s best to talk to your child’s pediatrician.

Keep in mind, some infected children will not have any symptoms and are potentially asymptomatic. This causes another problem.

If your child is currently going into a school building, when should you keep them home? Doctors agree that if your child has a fever then you should keep them home. Most schools have a policy to keep kids at home until the fever has subsided for at least 24 hours.

Before the pandemic, kids would go to school with a runny nose or cough. This school year is obviously different. Experts say this is not the year to send your kids to school sick, even with mild symptoms.

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