Yes- tis the season. School is in session…and so are those wonderful viruses. As in most cases, I’m not going to re-create a wheel. This topic addressed in many, many good places. Please check out these links below. I love podcasts. They are glorious and easy to download on my phone.
That being said- I want to make a few points that will hopefully be helpful.
- Your child will probably be congested and coughing a pretty significant portion of the winter. If he/she isn’t- you are a very lucky parent (and might not be using daycare where all the germs live). This does NOT mean that you child necessarily has a poor immune system or something more serious. Most kids move out of one cold and into the next pretty quickly. Each cold is its own virus and lasts 5 to 14 days.
- It is quite rare that medication is helpful for most coughs and colds. Be very wary of anything that decreases congestion or cough in children. Good evidence says that they are pretty much a waste. Make sure to clarify with your provider if you want to start something over the counter. Tylenol and Ibuprofen can be of some value for fever or discomfort
- Washing hands (to prevent spread), hydration, humidifiers seem to help the most.
- Call your provider immediately if there are concerns that your child has a significant fever (102 or higher), concerns for dehydration, you feel like the cough or other symptoms are severe (trust your gut as a parent!), or symptoms are not improving by day 10,11, or 12.
- Know that the symptoms in many cases are not going to get better until day 10,11, or 12.
- In most cases, antibiotics are NOT helpful for congestion or cough (sinus infections and pneumonia are not super common). When we use antibiotics, we do so with caution knowing that these medications have side effects such as diarrhea, can contribute to yeast infections, and there are increasing issues with bacteria becoming resistant from overuse.
- If your child experiences multiple bouts of “bronchitis” or has more severe symptoms of cough (throwing up with a cough for example) than other people in the house- then please think about the possibility of asthma and other illnesses that make these simple coughs more severe. You should bring this up to your provider.
Ok- you freaking awesome parent- that’s what I gots for now! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. I check my emails once a week and will create posting updates based on parent questions. I try to get to all of my questions and readers as time permits. Peace out! Doctor Ryan