We all get colds and congestion, even young children. There still is no cure for the common cold, and our medicines to help with the symptoms are also not working very well. Tylenol or Motrin will help with fever and body aches or headaches, but do nothing for congestion. There are many choices of tastes and colors in cold medicines of every kind at the stores. The problem is that none of them have been shown in controlled studies to help
with any symptoms. True allergy symptoms can be helped with antihistamines, but the congestion from colds is not helped with these medicines. At times we will try to use these cold medicines to help with some of the symptoms, but please try not to overuse them.
The things you can do to help the symptoms of nasal congestion and post-nasal drip leading to cough are related to improving the flow of mucus. Elevate the head during sleep to allow gravity to pull the mucus down out of the nose. Use a humidifier to keep the mucus moist so that it can flow easier. Use steam from the bath or shower to loosen thick congestion in the nose and chest. Offer plenty of fluids to your child to bathe the throat and wash down mucus.
If the temperature remains elevated for more than the initial 2-3 days, or if the symptoms become more severe, contact our office for an appointment.The color of the mucus is not always helpful in determining whether secondary infection is present. The only good indicators of secondary infection in children are drainage longer than 10 days and daytime cough. If symptoms persist longer than 10 days or if your child acts worse after several days, let us examine him to see if antibiotics can help.
Some children are more prone to get secondary infections from upper respiratory infections such as ear infections, sinus infections, and pneumonia.These children may need to be seen sooner and more often to determine when they have secondary infections. We will not call in antibiotics over the phone. We need to be sure of what infection we are treating and other possible complications.
Try to encourage your child to practice good hand washing techniques. This will help with the spread of infections all year, but especially in the winter months. Some children may need to be placed in smaller daycare environments or even taken out of daycare for the winter, but we will discuss this with each family on an individual basis.