Tips By Dr. Shrestha
It’s that time of the year again, sniffles, stuffiness, congestion, coughing everywhere. Being a mother of a young child, you understand more about how common is a common cold and how awful and sorry you feel for your kids. Children younger than two years old can get about 8-10 episodes of the common cold in a year, that number increases if a child goes to daycare or has older sibling going to school.
Both my kids were in daycare; they had at least one URI every month, especially my younger had two a month. As a pediatrician, I do not worry about it much, let it run its course, and my kid’s immunity fights it off. Being a mother is tough, tiring to be awake all night long caring for your loved sick one, knowing that his body will have to fight it off. I do what is recommended, symptomatic treatment and give him tender loving care.
Upper respiratory illness, A.k.a common cold or URI are a disease of the upper respiratory tract that includes the nose, sinuses, throat, windpipe and ears. Rhinovirus, Influenza virus, Adenovirus, RSV, Human Metapneumovirus are the most common viruses causing it.
They all produce the same type of symptoms.
- Nasal drainage varying from clear to yellow to yellowish green,
- Nasal stuffiness so unable to breathe through your nose and you have to open your mouth to breath so causes dry mouth.
- Sore throat
- Post nasal drainage giving you tickling in throat and clearing throat,
- Hoarseness of voice.
- Fever, chills, headache because of it.
- All these symptoms peaks on the 4th day making you or your loved one miserable than gradually your bodies immune system fight over it and victory, by 7-14 days you are back to yourself
How do you treat it?
- During the illness, your symptoms keep you from doing your daily business.
- You treat it symptomatically.
- Your body need rest so that you conserve that energy to fight off infection.
- You don’t feel like eating but drinking fluid to rehydrate helps you feel much better sooner.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can treat fever.
- Some home remedies are proven helpful:
- Honey help boost your immune system, warm salt gargle to give you symptomatic relief from a sore throat, lemon juice and ginger juice in hot water helps. Studies have proven chicken noodle soup helps too.
- If you have an infant, regular saline spray, and nasal bulb suction helps more than anything. Make sure you suction nose properly. Do not do it too frequently as it may cause nose trauma.
- Cool mist humidifier is also crucial as the cool mist helps to decrease swelling from infection, thin nasal secretion so that it is easy to suction with a nasal bulb.
- We do not recommend a cough and cold medication for children less than two years due to increasing risk of side effect than benefit.
- However, for older kids and adult it may help symptomatically.
Do you need antibiotic?
Most of URI’s are viral and resolves spontaneously in 10-14 days therefore not requiring antibiotic. Antibiotic is for bacterial infection; it will not help against any viral infections.
When to call doctors?
However, if you have a fever for more than five days, trouble breathing, chest pain, sinus pain, ear pain cough for more than one week, nasal drainage for more than two weeks, or your child is three months or younger with common cold symptoms; call your doctor to make an appointment. You may need more than symptomatic treatment.
How to know your child is having trouble breathing?
Your child may be doing one or more of following;
- The nostrils are widening with each breath,
- Skin above or below the ribs sucks in with each breath (retractions),
- Your child is breathing fast
- The lips or nails turn blue.
What are the complications?
Though most of URI resolve spontaneously, it may progress to ear infection, sinus infection, pneumonia and other complication.
How do you prevent your loved ones from getting it?
Hand hygiene, covering your mouth while coughing, covering nose while sneezing help.