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Fighting Off Colds

Discover what you can do to ease your little one's symptoms at home--and when it's time to go to the doctor.

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-I'm Kevin Coary for Parents TV. As a parent, we've all been there. Your child has a runny nose, a cough, maybe even a slight fever. So, what can you do to help them at home and when do you know it's time to bring them to the doctor? -I'm so sorry. I felt like every time you run in there, well, he's not really sick. He just kind of sneezing or something. -The doctor's office said it's pretty nerve wracking sometimes. He is constantly learning and adapting. -First and foremost, there are so many little aches and pains that kids have and so many little, you know, different symptoms to pop up. How does a parent know if their child just has something like the snipples or if it's something more serious? -Uh-hmm. -Well, generally if they're running a fever for several days, you know, when you're getting to like 4 or 5 days in fever then they should be checked. -Because kids get fevers a lot for a lot of different reasons especially at young ages like, you know, Cherry Rose being 6 months old. So, what kind of fever do you look for? Or is there a certain level that, you know, where our parents should say, okay, this obviously is something serious. I need to get my child in to see a doctor. -Yeah. You know, typically with that common cold, you're gonna have maybe a temperature of around 100, but if it's going up to 101, 102 for several days, that means probably that it could have started out that's a viral but may have become bacteria. -Okay. And at what point if you're seeing 101, 102 as a parent, you're gonna wanna try and control that I guess at home. First, how can a parent do that and then at what point do they say, okay, I'm not controlling this. I do need to get in. -Uh-hmm. -Generally, if you use Acetaminophen which is the same as Tylenol or Ibuprofen, which is the same as Motrin, you can control temperatures pretty well. You wouldn't mind you use both together but separately and you know, in the recommended dose. So, and generally, fever is not gonna cause any problems but it's just a symptom of that there is something going on. -So, if you're not seeing a fever and your child is just-- or has a runny nose, has maybe a cough, and it just seem so uncomfortable, what can a parent do? -Uh-hmm. Well, recently, the recommendations were changed and they do not use any over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for children under 6. There's concern that some babies may have died because of those cold, cough and cold medications. -Uh-hmm. -And I haven't really seen the statistics on that but they also think that they don't really work all that much, and especially the ones for cough, that they could-- if they do work, they could tend to mask a cough that might be asthma or something more serious. What's advised is having your child maybe sleep in an inclined position and use a vaporizer. If you want, you can use a little Vicks VapoRub too with the vaporizer. And the other big thing they're recommending is if the nose is stuffy, to use Normal Saline and you can get that at the pharmacy and-- or you can make it up for yourself and you put a few drops in the nose and then use a bulb syringe to suck their nose out. And with where the baby sits is really important because they bleed through their nose and so they can't breathe very well, their nose is blocked. -So, how about prevention? I mean, we hear so much about flu shots. In general, our flu shot's safe for kids of any age. -So, it has to be very safe and now they're recommending that children even 6 months should start getting flu shots every year. -The child gets a flu in the immunization. Can they still get sick? Can they still get the flu? -Yeah and you know, the CTC tries to figure out every year what the next flu is gonna be and it's usually 2 or 3 viral strengths and the shot may start to wear off by the time that your child gets it, maybe on the spring or something like that. But generally, it last about 6 months, I believe and takes two weeks to take effect. -It's-- as a parent, you sort of sometimes hesitate to go into the doctor 'cause you don't wanna think, am I overreacting? Really, what's the point where parents need, you know, can say, okay, this is serious. I do need to take my child in. -Right. I think if you, you know that you do the things that I mentioned about cold, and if the child is still coughing especially at night and not able to sleep or in pain, you know, really fuzzy and not able to sleep an eye, then you know, the child should be checked. -We see fevers a lot in kids especially little ones. So, again, when do you know, you know, when this really has become serious? -Well, sometimes what can help you is that if your child has been sick, say with a running rose for a week, you're going a week to 10 days and then they start running a fever. That's a pretty good sign that it's probably going into-- it's going from something viral in which there's not a lot of medicines that can take care of viral illnesses and it's going into something bacterial like an ear infection or pneumonia. -What kinds of things, you know, can you do as a parent to, you know, to prevent your child from getting a cold or a flu? -Uh-hmm. Well, it's not so much being outside in the cold. The big thing is that in the winter where all endures more and so, you can get it through ear droplet form from other people or from hand to mouth. And so, that's why hand washing is so important. -So, as you've just heard, there are some things you can do as a parent to prevent your child from getting a cold or the flu. Remember, one of the most important is washing your hands. I'm Kevin Coary for Parents TV. -Thanks you for watching Parents TV. Our families, our lives.