Children And Colds
Children And Colds
Scott Cohen (Pediatrician, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) gives expert video advice on: How do I treat my child's cold? and more...
What is a "cold"?
So, a cold usually is also a viral infection and viral infections can cause many different symptoms. They can cause running nose, they can cause caugh, they can cause fever, sore throat, body aches, all of the above or just one or two of them. And colds, in general, in children are extremely common. And unless you put your child in a bubble which I don't recommend they are going to get a cold. And the more exposure they have to school and day care the more likely they are to have a cold. Colds, also in children can be very prolonged. It's not uncommon for me to hear from parents that the entire winter, for four months, my child's been sick. It's because these congestions and coughs can last several weeks, go way for a week, they get something else or they get something else while they had the previous cold. So It's just important to watch how your child looks. Treat them supportively and see your doctor if you think the symptoms are getting worst.
When should I call the doctor about my child's cold?
So, you should call your doctor when your child has a cold if one of three things are happening. One, if the fever associated with that cold is prolonged. So, any fever in a child under two or three months of age usually we like to see the child because we want to make sure that there is nothing more serious going on so we want to hear it. In older children fevers usually with viruses last about seventy two hours so I always like to see children if the fever goes more than seventy two hours just to make sure that nothing else is going on. Sure there are many viruses that can fever for five to seven days, influenza viruse is one of them but we want to check just to make sure that there is no secondary infection like an ear infection or strep throat or a sinus infection that may need antibiotics. So prolonged fever is one reason. Fever that is not responding to Tylenol would be a concern. Problems breathing like we mentioned and again it is not the sound of the congestion or the cough but how they are breathing and how their chest is moving. Or, if their demeanor has really changed. Now, this is a hard one because I know kids look horrible when they are sick, they are lethargic, they don't want to play, they don't want to eat, when you have fever your eyes roll back in your head and all you want to do is sleep so it's important to look at the periods when they are not having fever and making sure that they are staying hydrated in between but if you think that really nothing looks right thats when you want to assess them.