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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Flu is on the rise across the country.

And while influenza continues to be an issue, local pediatricians, such as Baystate's Dr. John O’Reilly continue to warn parents they have seen a rise in strep throat, as well.

Western Mass News broke down the two illnesses and the symptoms you should pay attention too.

It's flu peak season but strep throat is also showing up at Baystate Medical Center.

And while influenza can be extremely dangerous, parents should also be on high alert for strep throat.

"Strep throat is fairly common in school-age kids and I think what happens is one kid brings it to school and they share drinks or sharing things and it is an infectious bacteria," Dr. O'Reilly said.

Dr. O’Reilly told Western Mass News with the flu circulating it might be difficult to tell what your child is suffering from.

That’s why paying attention to what your children are complaining about is key.

"I think the distinction for parents is that strep throat is localized to this area.” Dr. O'Reilly noted.

Dr. O'Reilly said specific symptoms such as tender lymph nodes and white patches inside the throat are all signs that lead to strep.

“The strep will also...because it's a bacteria, tend to give relatively high fevers," Dr. O'Reilly

It can also be difficult to recognize the difference because both flu and strep since both can produce a fever.

But the flu tends to take over your entire body causing it to ache.

"I have a headache, I have a cough, again the body aches are big and separating the more symptoms you have that is more a viral illness than strep," Dr. O'Reilly noted.

And Dr. O'Reilly said if you think your child does have strep its important your child gets tested and treated immediately so it doesn’t lead into bigger issues.

"The issue of treating strep throat is we want to prevent what called rheumatic fever which is a big cause of heart diseases around the globe," Dr. O'Reilly explained.

And if all this talk about the flu and strep is making you worried about your child, Dr. O'Reilly said it's not too late for them to get the flu shot.

“No time like the present, call your pediatrician and get that flu shot done," Dr. O'Reilly said.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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