Posts for category: Child Healthcare
Colds may be common, but that does not mean caring for your child’s cold is easy. To help your little one feel better, your pediatrician is available to offer tips on what you need to know about your child’s cold. The common children’s cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that usually lasts a week or two.
The typical preschool-age child may experience 6-10 colds per year. Most colds resolve on their own with rest and fluids, but some may lead to ear infections, sinus infections, asthma attacks or other complications.
Caused by viruses, colds can be spread through a sneeze or cough. The virus may also be spread indirectly, through touching the hand of a healthy person or even by using door handles with your hand you may have just sneezed or coughed into. Once the virus is present and multiplying, your child will develop the familiar symptoms and signs:
- Runny nose
- Mild fever, particularly in the evening
- Decreased appetite
- Sore throat
- On-and-off irritability
- Slightly swollen glands
Many parents become confused about the proper way to treat a coughing, sneezing child, because colds and allergies often have overlapping symptoms. When in doubt, talk to your pediatrician who will know exactly what is causing your child’s symptoms, especially if they are persistent or worsen with time.
If your child has a typical cold without complications, the symptoms should disappear on their own after seven to ten days. Your pediatrician may want to see your child if symptoms do not improve and is not completely recovered within one week from the start of their illness.
Contact your pediatrician for further treatment and to better understand your child’s cold symptoms.
One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illnesses is through proper hand washing. Young children in particular need to be reminded to wash their hands, which is very important after sneezing, nose-blowing, using the bathroom and before eating. With help from your child’s pediatrician, you can help keep your child healthy.
School age children are in close contact throughout the school day are more likely to share school materials, and frequently touch their faces. Since germs from sneezing and coughing droplets can survive on surfaces for up to eight hours, teaching your child about proper hand washing is very important to maintaining their health. Your pediatrician provides this step-by-step guide for proper hand washing:
- Turn on the water until it is warm, but not too hot.
- Rub your hands together to get a nice, soapy lather.
- Wash your palms, the back of your hands, fingers and under the nails.
- Sing “Happy Birthday” or count up to 15 to 20 “Mississippi’s” to effectively wash their hands for an appropriate amount of time.
- Dry hangs on a paper towel.
- If at a public or school restroom, have your child turn off the faucet with the paper towel when they are done.
- When exiting a public or school restroom, encourage your child to use the same paper towel on the handle of the bathroom door to open it and to throw it away after exiting.
Maintaining proper hand washing methods will help your child to remain healthy throughout the year. Your child’s pediatrician is available to provide you with further tips on how to maintain a healthy child. However, if your child does get sick, your pediatrician encourages you to visit their office for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Detecting Eye and Vision Problems in Children
- Eye rubbing
- Sensitivity to light
- Bulging or jiggly eyes
- Droopy eyelids
- White, yellow, or gray-white material in the pupil
In infants, toddlers and preschoolers, the most frequent cause of sore throats is a viral infection. No specific medicine is required when a virus is responsible, and the child should get better over a seven to ten day period. During this period, your child may develop a fever, but they generally are not very sick.
It is not uncommon to experience a sore throat when your child has a cold or the flu. Unfortunately, there are other reasons for sore throats to develop that may be symptomatic of more serious problems. Children tend to have sore throats more often than adolescents or adults, with sore throats being the most common during the winter months when upper respiratory infections are more frequent.
The major cause of a sore throat is an infection, whether it is viral or bacterial, and can also be caused by allergies and environmental conditions. If your child has a sore throat that lasts longer than the typical five to seven day duration of a cold or flu, and is not associated with an avoidable allergy or irritation, it is important to contact your local pediatrician. The following are signs and symptoms to alert you to take your child to the pediatrician:
- Severe and prolonged sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Joint pain
- Fever that is over 101 degrees
- Frequent recurring sore throat
- Lump in the neck
- Hoarseness lasting over two weeks
At the first onset of a sore throat it is always important to monitor the progress and recognize any other symptoms that may accompany the sore throat, which could cause it to worsen into strep throat, inflamed tonsils, or laryngitis. Contact your pediatrician if your child is experiencing a sore throat that won’t go away. Your pediatrician will help diagnose and treat your child’s symptoms.
Many people mistake a common cold for sinusitis, and vice versa, as the symptoms of a cold and a sinus infection can be quite similar to each other because the same viruses often cause both conditions. Additionally, since the nose and sinuses are connected, it is possible for viruses to move easily between the nasal passages and the sinuses.
Your child may feel run down, have a low-grade fever, post-nasal drip and a sore throat. So is it a common cold or a sinus infection? Typically, a cold can definitely morph into a sinus infection, but there are some classic symptoms for each illness that can help distinguish between the two.
The Common Cold
With a cold, there is a cluster of symptoms that your child might be experiencing, including:
- Nasal congestion
- A run-down feeling
- Runny nose with clear discharge
- Sore throat
- Post nasal drip
- Fever may be seen in children, but not often in adults
If your child has a cold, they may even experience a cough or a headache, and it can often last from three to seven days with or without any treatment. Your child develops a cold from a virus in which the symptoms usually build slowly over the course of a day or two, peak by days three or four, then slowly improve around the fifth or seventh day.
With a cold, treatment might include supportive care, fluids and chicken soup. Drinking plenty of water is also beneficial as it helps to hydrate your child. By hydrating your child through water consumption, you can help to flush out the infection because it liquefies the mucus. There are also medications available to help make your child more comfortable as the cold passes.
Sometimes colds can set in the sinuses and cause swelling, which then prevents the flow of mucus and turns the cold into a sinus infection. Sinusitis is the inflammation of the sinuses that can be caused by a cold, an infection or allergies. Any swelling of the sinuses can produce symptoms such as:
- Pressure or pain behind the eyes or cheeks
- Pain in the top teeth
- Green or yellow nasal drainage
- Post nasal drip
Your child may also complain of being tired, having a difficult time breathing through his or her nose, decreased sense of smell and restless sleep. If your child develops a cold every month or every other month, this is because his or her sinuses are flaring up and it is probably not a cold, but chronic sinusitis.
The main difference between a common cold and sinusitis is that a cold comes around once a year and lasts for three to five days, and then is gone and your child most likely will not experience it again until next year. Acute sinusitis typically lasts less than four weeks, with chronic sinusitis lasting more than 12 weeks. So if your child’s symptoms last more than a week, odds are they are experiencing a sinus infection and should visit your pediatrician.
By visiting your child’s pediatrician, you can help your child breathe easy once again. Whether it is a common cold, or a more serious sinus infection, your child’s pediatrician is available to help relieve their symptoms.