• 20 MAY 14

    Cold or Sinus Infection

    A cold is an infection of the nose and sinuses caused by a virus, while a “sinus infection” is caused by bacteria in the nose and sinuses. Their symptoms are virtually identical and include nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, sore throat, headache and fever. You may notice nasal discharge that changes from clear to yellow to green in either case. Colds are much more common than sinus infections. Normal healthy children can have 6-12 colds a year. They are often clustered in the cold weather months and happen more frequently during the first year of daycare or preschool. So how can we tell them apart? The truth is that it is very difficult. For that reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics has established guidelines to help make an accurate diagnosis. Children should be treated with antibiotics for a sinus infection only if they have severe (high fever for 5 or more days, pus draining from the sinuses) or prolonged (more than 10-14 days) symptoms. What is the harm in just giving an antibiotic? Any medication carries the risk of side effects. Antibiotics can cause anaphylaxis and other allergic reactions, rash, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches among other things. Every time your child takes an antibiotic, it increases the chance that he will develop an infection that is resistant to that antibiotic in the future. To minimize the risk of side effects and resistant infections like MRSA, it is extremely important that your child take antibiotics only when truly needed for a bacterial infection. So what can I do? For cold symptoms, do your best to keep your child comfortable. You can use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) for fever or sore throat. For congestion, you can use nasal saline drops and, in younger children, a bulb syringe to help clear excess mucous. Try a cool mist humidifier at bedtime, and elevate the head of his mattress or give an older child an extra pillow to reduce night time cough from postnasal drip. For children over 12 months, you can also try a spoonful of honey for cough. We do not recommend over the counter cough and cold preparations as they have never been shown to be effective and carry the risk of serious side effects.

Health Topics

  • Colic

    Newborns with colic have long-lasting periods of crying and fussing. The cause of colic is unknown but is probably related to the baby’s temperament. It occurs in infants from birth to age 3 months.

  • Croup

    A croupy cough is a tight barking (like a seal) sounding cough. The voice or cry is hoarse usually and sometimes there is a fever and congestion. If you think your child has croup, they should be seen in the office.

  • Diaper Rash

    A baby’s sensitive skin is easily irritated by urine and stool. To prevent this irritation, you can apply a barrier cream like Desitin with each diaper change.

  • Eczema

    Eczema is a chronic, red, itchy skin disorder that is very common, affecting 10% of children. It is often seen in children who have allergies. The skin is usually dry and may also become thickened with time.

  • Insect Bites

    If the insect bites are itchy and swollen, it’s okay to apply hydrocortisone cream 1% (Cortaid or other brand) twice a day as needed for 5-7 days.

  • Immunization Reaction

    Common side effects following vaccination include local reactions such as redness, swelling, or tenderness at the site of injection and fever less than 101 degrees F.

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux

    Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the contents of the stomach, including stomach acid, move upward (reflux) into the esophagus (swallowing tube).

  • Ear Infection

    If your child is verbal and complains of ear pain, or crying and tugging of the ear in a younger child, you may use a warm pack applied externally over the ear to help alleviate the pain.

  • Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

    Conjunctivitis, or Pink Eye, is caused by viruses, bacteria or allergies. Commonly this occurs with viral upper respiratory infections.

  • Strep Throat

    If your child complains of a sore throat along with possibly fever, headache, stomachache, nausea or vomiting, call our office to make an appointment to have your child examined.

  • Teething

    Provide hard, cold teething toys to chew on. You may also give infant’s Tylenol.

  • Urinary Tract Infections

    Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are infections of the bladder, kidneys, or both. They are caused by bacteria that spread from fecal (bowel movement) material.

  • Cold or Sinus Infection

    A cold is an infection of the nose and sinuses caused by a virus, while a “sinus infection” is caused by bacteria in the nose and sinuses.