PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- Many parents whose kids might show symptoms like a sore throat or cough are left wondering: Is it a case of COVID-19 or just a common cold?

Laura Cash's kids have been pretty healthy for the past six months, staying home for virtual learning and not going out too much. This Phoenix mom knows, however, that as soon as they're back on campus, they'll be subjected to an assortment of potential illnesses.

"So many little things get passed around at school, pink eye, strep throat," said Cash. "I feel like all of that is going to be heightened."

Cash is one of many Arizona parents, who have grown accustomed to their kids getting sick at school. But these days, things are a lot different, with COVID-19 a very real concern.

COVID-19 and the common cold have many similar symptoms, like fever, cough and a sore throat. So how do you tell the difference?

Dr. Adrienne Kurland is a pediatrician with North Scottsdale Pediatrics. She said it's not that easy, especially with so many children with COVID-19  not showing any symptoms at all.

Her best advice is, if your child is sick at all, they should stay home from school. "If we are suspicious that our kids are sick because of COVID, and in kids it can be anything or nothing, we need to be super cautious and don't expose our children to friends and school, "" said Kurland. "The right answer is - if your child is sick, keep them home until they are better."

Dr. Kurland suggests keeping a close eye on your kids. And if their symptoms get worse, or they've been exposed to someone with COVID-19, they should get tested. "I feel like I am definitely going to lean on the side of caution," said Cash. "I  have to keep them home now if they have any sort of symptoms, that seems like it could be symptom of COVID. Yeah, stay home. Have fever? Stay home."

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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