Posts for tag: Common Cold
Your child is sneezing, coughing and congested. Is it the common cold? Is it seasonal allergies? What is the best way to give them relief from these symptoms?
Allergies and colds often have overlapping symptoms, including a stuffy or runny nose, cough and low energy. It can be difficult for parents to know whether their child is battling a stubborn virus or having an allergic reaction.
Kids with a cold may feel achy and develop a sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose and low-grade fever. A cold usually doesn’t last longer than a few days before it starts to improve. Since common colds are viral infections, they can’t be cured with antibiotics. To ease your child’s symptoms or discomfort, make sure your child is getting plenty of fluids and rest.
If your child’s stuffy nose lingers for several days, this may be an indication that they are suffering from allergies and not a cold. In fact, allergy symptoms can last for weeks to months.
Tell-tale signs that your child has allergies and not a cold include:
- Cold-like symptoms linger for more than a few weeks
- Chronic (continual) cough
- Mucous is clear
- Persistent stuffy nose
- Itching of the nose, ears, mouth and/or throat
- Itchy, watery, red eyes
- Puffiness around the eyes
- Wheezing, difficulty breathing and other respiratory symptoms
- Unexplained bouts of diarrhea, abdominal cramps and other intestinal symptoms
In some cases, reducing the triggers that are causing the allergic reaction can control many allergy symptoms. This may include washing your child’s bedding and toys to remove dust and bacteria, bathing pets regularly, vacuuming your home at least once a week and replacing furnace and air filters every few months.
Although common colds and allergies have similar symptoms, there are distinct clues that help parents differentiate one from the other. When in doubt about your child’s symptoms, always contact your pediatrician.
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.