A child who
is coughing and congested can be a very unhappy camper. Although
there is a plethora of medicines in the pharmacy that say they
are for colds, they are not very effective and can have side effects.
I would advise you not to use any over-the-counter cold
medicine, especially if your child is less than 6 years old (click
here for more information).
If your child
is older than 1, tea with lemon and honey or chicken soup can
really help and don’t have any side effects. Having your
child breathe in the steam of a hot shower or humidifier/vaporizer
can also provide some relief.
is any degree of respiratory distress or labored breathing, this
is a completely different story. If your child is breathing so
hard that you can see the ribs pulling in or the nostrils flaring,
this could indicate pneumonia, bronchitis, or asthma.
These situations cannot wait until the morning. You need
to go to the emergency room immediately, so that a doctor can
check your child’s oxygen level, listen to his lungs, and
take a chest x-ray if necessary.
Throat—Is It Strep?
A sore throat
could indicate strep throat. This bad guy has been around forever,
causing sore throat, fever, and swollen
glands. When there is also a cough and runny nose, this indicates
a viral infection, which actually points away from strep. But
kids that are older than 2 and complaining of fever and sore throat
should be seen in the office, just in case a strep test should
be done. Strep throat is highly contagious and, if left untreated,
can bring on rheumatic heart disease.
If your child
has a sore throat and fever but is breathing normally, make an
appointment for first thing in the morning. In the meantime, give
them Tylenol or Motrin for the pain (click here
for dosages), and tea with lemon and honey to soothe the throat.
Other Sickness Topics