Upper Respiratory Infection (The Common Cold)
The common cold is caused by any number of viruses and can occur at any age. The average child has 6 colds per year. The incubation period is usually1-4 days and generally lasts 7-10 days. Sinus infections, ear infections and conjunctivitis may be complications of a cold. Any of the following symptoms may appear: stuffy or runny nose, scratchy sore throat, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, headache, mild fever, general aches, tiredness and poor appetite. Since a cold is caused by a virus, there is no specific treatment. Various measures may relieve some of the discomfort. Non-aspirin pain relievers, such as Tylenol, may be given for a fever, headache, sore throat and general aches. Warm salt water gargles and throat lozenges can also be used. Various decongestants are available over the counter and can be recommended by your doctor. Fluids should be increased and adequate rest should be encouraged. Avoid close contact with those that are sneezing, coughing or known to have a cold. Adequate rest and a balanced diet will improve the bodys ability to fight off a virus. Frequent and thorough hand washing is very important to prevent the spread of any infection. A child should remain home for 24 hours after the fever is gone. Use good judgment in deciding whether to send your child to school. This will depend greatly on how your child is feeling and the age of your child.