Is It More Than Just a Cold?

If your child catches a cold, the sneezing, runny nose, and headache can last up to two weeks; his low-grade fever (between 100.4°F and 102°F) should ease up after a few days. But call your pediatrician if symptoms are severe or if your child develops a sore throat, rapid or labored breathing, ear pain, or ear discharge, says New York City pediatrician Nathalie Stern, M.D. Any fever in an infant under 3 months also warrants medical attention. Here's help spotting more serious winter illnesses.

Infection
Flu Pneumonia RSV (respiratory synclinal virus)
Symptoms
Sudden and severe cold-like symptoms, fever, chills; also nausea muscle aches, fatigue, and vomiting. Cold- and flu like ailments; also fast labored breathing, wheezing, and a persistent cough. Cold symptoms at first, cough becomes more pronounced, and child develops wheezing and difficulty breathing.
Treatment
Lots of fluids and rest, a bland diet to quell nausea, and acetaminophen or ibuprofen if fever is making your child uncomfortable See a doctor. Serious cases may require hospitalization. Bacterial pneumonia can be cured with antibiotics. If your child is very ill, he may need to be hospitalized to receive oxygen and hydration. Prescription drugs are also available.

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