When your child is not feeling well:
Every cold and flu season many children come down with a head cold that results in a cough. Coughing can be uncomfortable and downright irritating if it’s strong and persistent or keeping everyone up at night. A cough can be very distressing for parents to watch especially if it interferes with daily activities and often disturbs both the parents and child’s sleep But it is the body’s way of trying to expel all the bugs that make us sick and clear out phlegm that clogs the breathing tract.
While coughing may be seen as a mere troublesome symptom without any serious consequences, ignoring cough that may be the sole presenting symptom of an underlying respiratory disease may lead to delayed diagnosis and progressions of a serious illness or chronic respiratory morbidity. In most children, acute coughing is usually due to a viral upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) such as a simple head cold with bronchitis or croup. Less often, but still common, pathogens can involve the lower respiratory tract system causing bronchiolitis, whooping cough, or pneumonia. Symptomatic URTI (Upper Respiratory tract Infection) with a cough in school children typically occurs around 7–10 times per year.
Congestion and "snotty noses".
Got goop? There’s not a kid around who won’t get through her early years without suffering at least a few dozen colds -- and that means congestion, which usually can be identified by that lovely stuff streaming from her nostrils (or gunked around them).
The clear favorite here is your typical, run-of-the-mill, ordinary cold virus. Babies may get colds once a month on average, or about 10 to 12 times a year (more in the winter, less in the summer). One typically lasts a week to 10 days, and sometimes they’ll just run into each other -- so it can seem like one cold is sticking around forever, when really it’s a few of them back-to-back. Allergies can also cause a runny nose, usually with clear mucus instead of the green or yellowish stuff that can come with a cold. A bacterial infection can also develop with a runny or stuffy nose.
When do you need to be concerned? If your baby is so miserable that the eating and drinking becomes a problem (and your baby is showing signs of dehydration: e.g. not have a wet diaper for six or seven hours or if your baby becomes lethargic or isn’t producing any tears. If the cold doesn’t seem to be clearing up after a couple of weeks, it’s time to come and see us.
What can you do to treat your baby’s runny or stuffy nose?
Unfortunately, cold medicines for babies and toddlers are a bad idea. The medicine won’t make the virus go away any faster, and it can actually do some harm. But there are some simple ways to make your tot feel better. Put a few saline drops in her nose to help loosen up some of the mucus. (if you are breast feeding put a few drops of breast milk in each of your baby's nostrils. Breast milk has lots of antibodies for many of the pathogens causing colds) - then gently suck out any excess snot with a bulb syringe to help clear out the passageways. Put a humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer in the baby's bedroom; it will add moisture to the air and help your baby breathe more easily. Finally, try elevating the baby slightly in its sleep, either by adding a crib wedge under the mattress or by holding the baby during a snooze (remember, avoid pillows in the crib)!