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Posts for tag: Sick Child

By Pediatric Associates of Paoli - Pediatrics for Family Health
December 15, 2017
Category: Child Health Care
Tags: Sick Child   Common Cold   Sinusitis  

Common ColdMany 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
  • Sneezing
  • 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.

Sinusitis

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
  • Congestion
  • Green or yellow nasal drainage
  • Headache
  • 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. 

FeverGenerally, a fever is brought on by an infection from a virus or bacterial infection. While many times a parent’s first instinct is to worry when their child has a fever, it’s not necessarily a sign that something serious is taking place. That’s because a fever is the body’s normal, infection-fighting response to infection and in many cases is considered a good sign that the child’s body is trying to heal itself.

When to Visit Your Pediatrician

Fevers are one of the most common reasons parents seek medical care for their child. Most of the time, however, fevers require no treatment.

When a child has a fever, he may feel warm, appear flushed or sweat more than normal—these are all common signs. So, when does a child’s fever warrant a pediatrician’s attention?

You should call your pediatrician immediately if the child has a fever and one or more of the following:

  • Exhibits very ill, lethargic, unresponsive or unusually fussy behavior
  • Complains of a stiff neck, severe headache, sore throat, ear pain, unexplained rash, painful urination, difficulty breathing or frequent bouts of vomiting or diarrhea
  • Has a seizure
  • Is younger than 3 months and has a temperature of 100.4°F or higher
  • Fever repeatedly rises above 104°F for a child of any age
  • Child still feels ill after fever goes away
  • Fever persists for more than 24 hours in a child younger than 2 years or more than 3 days in a child 2 years of age and older

All children react differently to fevers. If your child appears uncomfortable, you can keep him relaxed with a fever-reducing medication until the fever subsides. Ask your pediatrician if you have questions about recommended dosage. Your child should also rest and drink plenty of fluid to stay hydrated. Popsicles are great options that kids can enjoy!

For many parents, fevers can be scary, particularly in infants. Remember, the fever itself is just the body’s natural response to an illness, and letting it run its course is typically the best way for the child to fight off the infection. Combined with a little TLC and a watchful eye, your child should be feeling normal and fever-free in no time.

Whenever you have a question or concern about your child’s health and well being, contact your Paoli pediatrician for further instruction.

Flu PreventionWith the arrival of flu season, many parents will be watching their children closely for symptoms of this dreaded virus.  The flu, also known as influenza, is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract (nose, throat and lungs).   The virus spreads easily in settings where many people are contained in close quarters such as schools and childcare, making children especially susceptible to the flu.

Often confused with the common cold, flu symptoms are typically more severe.  The following symptoms are good indicators that your child has the flu:

  • Rapid onset of fever (typically above 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Excessive tiredness, lack of energy and general weakness
  • Muscle aches and chills
  • Dry cough
  • Stuffy, runny nose

Other symptoms that accompany the flu may include sore throat, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Remember, if your child comes down with the flu, keep them home from school or childcare for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.  The flu is highly contagious and can infect other children and caregivers.  It can spread by direct contact, such as drinking from the same cup or through indirect contact, such as when a classmate sneezes on his hand and then touches the door handle.

Flu Prevention Tips

Annual outbreaks of seasonal flu typically occur during the fall through the spring. Knowing how to identify flu symptoms and prevent the virus will help you protect your family from getting the flu. Here are just a few tips to keep the virus away from your household.

  • Teach your children proper and consistent hand washing
  • Avoid sharing cups, bottles, and other utensils
  • Encourage your children to keep their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth to prevent germs from spreading
  • Practice the importance of coughing or sneezing into your arm or a tissue

To prevent seasonal influenza, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children receive the influenza vaccination every year starting at six months of age.  Ask your pediatrician about flu vaccinations for your child.

When your child is experiencing the flu, extra rest and drinking plenty of fluids can help relieve symptoms.  Typical recovery time for the flu is one or two weeks.  Contact your pediatrician if your child’s fever persists, he or she develops a cough, or if he or she complains of ear pain. Flu is a serious illness that should be monitored closely.