Our friend, the common cold
By Dr. Angela D’Alessandro,
Pediatrics, Physicians’ Primary Care
The common cold is the most common illness in children.
It’s caused by a host of viruses and typically lasts about two weeks. Common symptoms of a cold include a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, fever, cough, and fatigue. Most children with a cold will not need to see a doctor. However, there are situations when you should seek medical attention with your child.
Some of these scenarios include the following: if your child has a high fever that does not go down with medication or has lasted for more than 3 to 4 days. Another worrisome symptom might be a severe cough that is causing your child to vomit or making it difficult to breathe. Colds come with a sore throat, but if it is making it difficult for your child to swallow, they should see their doctor. Another sign that your child may need evaluation include a cold that is not getting better after a week or two.
As we always tell our patients and families, if you are worried about the way your child or teenager looks or have questions about their illness, it is best to call your doctor’s office for advice or an appointment.
If your child requires a visit to the doctor, they will discuss various evidence-based over-the-counter and home remedies that will help relieve your child’s symptoms. Some of these include honey for cough (children over one year of age), nasal saline lavage for runny and stuffy nose symptoms, and lots of oral fluids and rest. Your doctor might recommend a cool mist humidifier in your child’s room.
Children and teens are often not hungry when they are sick. This is okay and normal. Encourage fluids and sucking on frozen fruit or a popsicle is a good way to get some glucose and fluids. Over-the-counter pain/fever relievers like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are safe and should only be used if necessary, as fever is a natural response to illness (however they may be used more often to treat headache, body aches, and sore throat pain that can come with a bad cold).
Dr. Angela D’Alessandro is with Physicians’ Primary Care of Southwest Florida) with offices throughout Lee County. www.ppcswfl.com