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Colds and Pneumonia – Tips for Parents

By |2024-05-10T08:37:09-04:00April 10th, 2018|Categories: Pediatrics, Pregnancy and Parenting|Tags: |

Cold season runs from September until March or April. Colds—which are the most common illness among children of all ages—can still make most children feel miserable. Because colds are respiratory viral infections, antibiotics, which treat bacterial infections, are not useful for treatment.

Common Cold Symptoms

  • Watery nasal mucus
  • Sneezing Fatigue
  • Fever (sometimes)
  • Sore throat
  • Cough

Although colds generally last only for a week or so, parents should not dismiss their child’s cold and recognize what’s normal and know when something more serious is going on. Parents should call the doctor if their child is not getting better after a few days of symptoms as a more serious condition such as pneumonia may be the cause.

According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children worldwide. There is expected to be 1.4 million children who die annually from pneumonia.

Common Symptoms of Pneumonia include:

Pneumonia Symptoms in Newborns:

  • Poor feeding
  • Irritability
  • Fast breathing
  • Grunting

Pneumonia Symptoms in Infants:

  • Cough/congestion
  • Fast breathing
  • Chest wall retractions
  • Wheezing/noisy breathing
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Decreased feeding

Pneumonia Symptoms in Toddler/Preschool:

  • Fever
  • Cough/congestion
  • Fast breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Post-cough vomiting

Pneumonia Symptoms in Adolescents/Older Children:

  • Fever
  • Cough/congestion
  • Chest pain
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy

Tips from a Board-Certified Pediatrician and Division Chief of Pediatric Emergency Department

emergency pediatrician in freehold nj“It may be difficult for parents to distinguish a cold from possible pneumonia, so I recommend that parents contact their pediatrician or seek help from an Emergency Department if the child experiences a high fever, vomiting, chills and shakes, a hacking cough or extreme fatigue,” explains Sanjay Mehta, DO, board-certified pediatrician and the division chief of the Pediatric Emergency Department at CentraState Medical Center. “Children from birth to age two are at a greater risk for developing pneumonia. And children with chronic medical conditions or asthma are at higher risk of developing pneumonia,” explains Mehta “Children should be frequently reminded to wash their hands throughout the day, including before meals, when coming in from playing outside or school and when they are with other children. Hand washing is the best defense to avoid getting sick at any time of year.”

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