Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Is it a common cold or allergies?

The most common infection in children in the common cold but the significance of this is attributed to the possible complications that it can cause. Children usually have 5-8 infections a year and this is more common in children younger than 2 years of age. 1/3 of the common colds is caused by the rhinovirus but there are 200 different strains of viruses that can also cause this infection. Colds is usually more severe in younger children because it can result is some fever. They can have ear infections with this and if the discharge is more purulent they can have a sinus infection with this. This is very contagious so it is really hard to quarantine children with this illness. Period of infectivity starts a few hours prior to the appearance of symptoms to 1-2 days after the illness appeared.

Babies younger than 3 months of age start with fever, irritability, restlessness and sneezing. Nasal discharge start which can lead to nasal obstuction. They will then have a hard time breathing or eating so it is very important that we help clear their airway by applying some normal saline to the area with some suctioning. In older children, they feel dryness in their throat some nasal discharge with coughing and some fever. They may complain of some muscle aches too. In most cases, the acute phase lasts for 2-4 days.

Allergic rhinitis can be differentiated from the common cold because it is not usually accompanied by a fever and the nasal discharge is usually clear. They have persistent sneezing and itchy eyes.

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