Cough and Cold (Upper Respiratory Illness)

Most colds go away by themselves, sometimes in just a few days.

A cold or U.R.I. (Upper Respiratory Illness) is a condition caused by many different viruses like rhinovirus.  A cold can produce symptoms effecting the nose, throat and lungs. Commonly, colds will last about 7 to 10 days. At the present time, there are no medications to cure a cold. Amoxicillin and other antibiotics have absolutely no effect on a common cold. If your doctor gave you an antibiotic for your cold, he or she probably suspected a secondary infection was also involved. Some doctors will oblige a parent’s requests for treatment even though there is no recognized secondary infection associated with a viral cold. If you believe your child has a cold and develops the following symptoms, I encourage you to call our office for a brief exam.

 1. Fever of 101° or more for 2 or 3 days.

or 2. Persistent pain.

or 3. Vomiting for more than 8 to 12 hours without successful fluid intake.

or 4. Very pale and unresponsive to the surroundings.

If a baby’s nose is full of mucus, the mucus can be removed with a bulb syringe. If the mucus is too thick to suction easily, salt water drops sprayed or dropped into the nostrils just prior to suctioning will help greatly. Do not use Q-tips™ to clean the nose or ears by probing inward beyond your vision. You may pack the mucus or wax so deeply that you will cause greater problems. A tickle in the throat can be helped by a mixture of lemon and honey for children over one year only. Honey given to infants under one year has caused a life threatening illness called Botulism. Extra fluids seem to help all persons who have cold symptoms. Use fluids as your child tolerates them, but do not force fluids. Laxatives do not shorten a cold and are not recommended.

Frequent colds are not associated with disorders of the tonsils and adenoids. Tonsils play an important role in the body’s defenses against infections. Tonsils are naturally large during school-age years when they are exposed to many infections. Very few children need to have their tonsils or adenoids removed. Tonsils should only be removed when they interfere with normal breathing, sleep, or produce persistent snoring.

last reviewed 5.13.18