SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Western Mass News is Your School Authority and the further we get into fall, the deeper we get into cold and flu season.

While this is going on, students are starting to return to the classroom as part of their district's re-opening plan.

“I think, initially, we thought it was just a flu-like illness and it was a fever, cough…Now, if you go to the CDC website, there’s probably 20 symptoms there,” said Dr. John O'Reilly, pediatrician at Baystate Health.

It’s a long list of symptoms for COVID-19 and all very similar to the common cold and the flu.

“Some of the common symptoms of cold and flu and COVID-19, for novel coronavirus, are sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, coughing, post-nasal drip, watery eyes. You typically don’t get a fever with a cold, but you do with the flu,” Kapoor added.

So, how do they differ? Kapoor explained.

“The cold and flu typically improve. With COVID-19, it could take a turn pretty quick and it’s also a slower build-up…The most significant differences from the outset are a loss of sense of taste and smell, shortness of breath, fever, coughing,” Kapoor noted.

O'Reilly told Western Mass News that there's been specific symptoms they've seen in some children.

“COVID can also inflame blood vessels and cause blood clots, kids can get painful toes, we’re calling COVID toes. You really don’t see it outside frostbite…We’re even narrowing diarrhea because there are these receptors in the GI track,” said O'Reilly.

As for what parents need to do, O’Reilly noted, "Be on the lookout, again with risk factors within the household. Be careful if their child has any kind of mild illness…They’re doing those things, cleaning surfaces, handwashing, not sharing things as much as they might normally do.”

Both Kapoor and O’Reilly emphasized that symptoms for children are more mild and even asymptomatic. They said it's important to stay home even if you think your child just has a cold.

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