This is a big category for common child illnesses. They are grouped together, not because they are alike, but instead because they often present with the same types of symptoms.
For many children, common colds are a part of growing up. They pick up the virus from a school or playmates. The common cold presents itself with a runny nose, congestion, and sometimes a cough. Children will often feel like their head is filled with fluids.
Does my child have a cold?
A common cold is normally accompanied by a runny nose, a light cough or throat irritation and possibly even a sore throat. The common cold just generally makes people feel sluggish or lethargic. These are symptoms that cause your child to have some discomfort, but they aren't life threatening and can be managed with Children’s Tylenol or other similar cold medication.
Beyond treating the symptoms, the common cold needs to run its course, often lasting a week to 10 days.
You might wonder when your child starts to present with symptoms, is this a cold or the flu? The flu can feel like a more extreme cold through its symptoms.
Some common symptoms of a flu are:
- Body aches
- Sore throat
- Sometimes also vomiting and diarrhea
Does my child have the flu?
A flu will also have similar symptoms to a cold, but they will also add in an additional element of a fever which is something that is a little more disconcerting for new parents. While a flu is also treatable with over the counter children’s flu medicines and rest, the fever part of the equation should always be watched very closely in children.
The good news for flu is that you can work to avoid it by getting your children an annual flu shot. During a regular check-up, talk to your doctor about the flu shot for your child. While it isn't foolproof, it can greatly reduce the risk associated with contracting the flu.
What is a high fever for a child?
A normal temperature can vary between 97.4 to 99.6. Temperatures in that range are typically not of any major concern. Once a temperature gets over 99 degrees, it can be a sign that your body is fighting infection. Fevers can sometimes take 3-4 days to break and that’s a long time to be concerned.
If your child is between 3-months to 3-years-old and has a temperature that reaches 102 or higher, it’s time to contact your pediatrician. This is especially true if your child:
- Becomes disinterested in normal activities or engaging with people or behavior that is not typical.
- Does not want to eat or drink
- Becomes confused or not aware of their surroundings
- Skin becomes very flushed or sweaty
- Loss of energy or fatigued
Meningitis happens when the membranes surrounding your brain and spinal cord get inflamed. Meningitis is treatable with vaccines and sometimes in more serious cases intense antibiotics will be prescribed. If you notice your child is having additional symptoms such as a stiff or very sore neck, headaches, or increased eye sensitivity to light, you should make sure your child has been immunized.
You know how your child acts when they are feeling well. If you are concerned, it’s always better to call your family pediatrician since they have a medical background on your child and will know the best treatment options. Erring on the side of caution is best.
Respiratory syncytial virus or RSV is another virus that presents with symptoms like a cold. In most cases, this virus impacts the lungs. For most kids, it runs its course on its own.
However, in kids under the age of two it can be serious and require a doctor's care. If cold symptoms persist or worsen, your child should see a doctor right away.
This new virus is wreaking havoc around the world.
Does my child have Coronavirus/COVID-19?
Children are absolutely not immune to this coronavirus. Symptoms include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
COVID-19 is highly contagious. If your child has had a potential exposure and presents with symptoms, seek testing. We are now offering Rapid COVID-19 testing in our offices. Contact us to schedule an appointment for COVID-19 testing if your child has COVID-19 symptoms or if they have been exposed to coronavirus. If they experience trouble breathing or their chest feels tight or painful, you should seek medical attention right away.