Village Pediatrics Winter Update
Children and Colds
In This Issue
What is this miserable cold?
What is Sinusitis?
Treating a Cold
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What is this miserable cold going around???
We have noticed a marked increase in bad colds in the last few weeks, many due to Respiratory Syncitial Virus, or RSV.  This virus can cause sore throat, severe nasal congestion, cough, fever and malaise.  In some cases, the irritation in the lungs can cause wheezing and pneumonia, and the mucus and irritation in the nasal passages can lead to sinus and ear infections.
When do you need to see the pediatrician?  Infants less than 3 months of age should be seen if they have anything more than a mild stuffy nose.  Call for an appointment if your older infant/child has any of the following symptoms:
  • The nostrils are widening with each breath, the skin above or below the ribs sucks in with each breath (retractions), or your child is breathing rapidly or having any difficulty breathing.
  • The lips or nails turn blue.
  • Nasal mucus persists for longer than ten to fourteen days.
  • The cough lasts more than one week without improvement.
  • She has pain in her ear.
  • Her temperature is over 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.9 degrees Celsius).
  • She is excessively sleepy or cranky, or cannot keep down fluids.
YELLOW/GREEN MUCUS does NOT mean your child has a bacterial infection or needs an antibiotic.  Colds normally end with thicked and colored mucus for several days.  Since colds are caused by viruses, antibiotics will not help normal cold symptoms.

How can you tell if your child has a bad cold, or a more serious condition?  Click here to read more...
 
The DIfference Between Sinusitis and a Cold
  When your child has a viral cold or hay fever, the linings of the nose and sinus cavities swell up and produce more fluid than usual. This is why the nose gets congested and "runny". Most of the time the swelling disappears by itself as the cold or allergy goes away. However, if the swelling does not go away, the openings that normally allow the sinuses to drain into the back of the nose get blocked, sinuses fill with fluid and bacteria get trapped inside and grow there. This is bacterial sinusitis.  Click here to learn more about how to differentiate between a cold and sinusitis.
 
How to Best Treat a Cold
  Most cold and cough medications are not approved for children ages 2 and younger, as they are rarely effective and can have significant side effects.  Older children, as well, may benefit more from the following suggestions:

1. Hot, steamy showers and cool-mist vaporizers will keep secretions thinned and easier to clear.
2. A spoonful of honey helps coat and soothe the cough receptors in the back of the throat (for children over 1 year of age.)
3. Nasal saline sprays, drops, and sinus rinses keep mucus thinned rinses them from the nasal passages.  This helps prevent blocked sinus passages and eustacian tubes- and minimizes the risk of sinus and ear infections.  NeilMed makes an easy, low pressure nasal wash that works well in children of all ages- the office has a number of free samples, just ask!
4.  Single ingredient acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to treat fevers, or discomfort related to sinus pressure, ear pain, sore throat and achiness (click here for dosing.)
5.  Encourage lots of fluids to keep nasal secretions thin- don't worry if your child's appetite is diminished in the first few days of a cold.
6.  Children over the age of 4 can try delsym, a long-acting dextromethorphan cough suppressant, for irritative coughs that keep them up at night.  Mild to moderate coughs by day should not be suppressed- as the cough is clearing mucus from the respiratory tract.
7.  Infants and children with congestion that does not clear with saline sprays, and are having a difficult time sleeping or eating, can try a dose of Benadryl at night (click here for dosing.)
 We wish you all good health, and speedy recoveries!
 

Dr. Jenn and Dr. Nikki
Village Pediatrics
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Village Pediatrics | 156 Kings Highway North | Westport | CT | 06880