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Parenting Questions: Knowing the signs of flu and strep

Posted at 7:00 AM, Jan 28, 2020

It can be hard to spot the difference between strep throat and the flu, especially when the symptoms seem awfully similar.

Dr. Lauren Bailey, a pediatrician with Lourdes Physician Group says some of the similarities include high fevers, runny nose, cough and sore throat.

"A lot of the kids right now are getting tummy pains with the flu, body aches, and fatigue," says Dr. Bailey. "Strep is typically fever, sore throat and they can also have tummy pain, fever and vomiting."

A red, sandpaper-like rash can also be a clear sign your child has strep throat. Dr. Bailey says she's seen several cases of strep rash in the last few weeks.

And while the symptoms may be pretty similar, the treatments are not.

"If you're going to treat flu, there is a medicine called Tamaflu and one called Xofluza. They needed to be started in the first 24 hours of starting the symptoms."

Dr. Bailey says it's also ideal for anyone to make it through the 24 hour mark of exhibiting flu or strep symptoms before checking in with their doctor.

"If we see you too early then sometimes our tests are negative," she says.

Bailey says something else to remember. If you've had one strand of the flu, there's nothing stopping you from getting the other or the same one again.

"I've had a couple of kids that have gotten one of them and then gotten another one," she says. "The second time around won't be as severe because you've built up your immune system."

The best advice Bailey can give during the peak of strep and flu season is to wash your hands and don't wait it out.

If you think you may have something stronger than just the common cold, schedule an appointment with your doctor.