Further Reading

When should I bring in my child for cough, runny nose, and congestion?

by Joanna L. Olson, RPA-C

Children often have a cough, runny nose, and congestion during this time of year, sometimes even multiple times throughout the winter. So how long should you wait until you make an appointment for your child to be seen in the office?

Children can have a cough, runny nose, and congestion for up to two weeks prior to having the illness become bacterial in nature, requiring an antibiotic. In fact, these symptoms may be viral in nature, not requiring an antibiotic, and your child may clear the infection without needing an antibiotic.

If your child has a cough, congestion, and runny nose, what options do you have to help them with symptomatic relief? Depending on age, there are several options which may help their symptoms.

 

Children under 4 years of age: This age group typically cannot have the routine cough and cold medications which are over the counter. However, there are options to help with symptomatic relief.

·         Nasal Saline: Using this in addition to suctioning will help clear the congestion.

·         Tylenol and Motrin (for infants over 6 months): Using this will help with discomfort.

·         Benadryl: Using this for shorter periods of time will help with a runny nose and congestion.

·         Zarbee’s Cough: This medication may be used in infants more than 2 months old which may also help with cough and congestion.

·         Fluid intake: Increasing fluids will help with symptomatic relief.

 

Children 4-5 years of age: This age group has some additional options for cough and cold medications which can be purchased over the counter to help with symptomatic relief.

·         Children’s Sudafed Cough and Cold to help with runny nose, congestion, cough.

·         Fluid intake: Increasing fluids will help with symptomatic relief.

·         Zarbee’s Cough: This medication may be used in infants more than 2 months old which may also help with cough and congestion.

·         Nasal Saline: Using this in addition to suctioning will help clear the congestion.

·         Tylenol and Motrin: Using this will help this age group with discomfort.

·         Blowing their nose and spitting up mucous secretions: Teaching your children these techniques early on will help them feel better and prevent bacterial infections from occurring.

 

Children 6 years of age and older: This age group has a larger combination of medications which may help with symptomatic relief. It is important to note that some of these cough and cold remedies contain additional medications, so make sure you know what the ingredients are prior to adding medications.

·         These are several options for cough and cold medications: Children’s Triaminic Cold and Cough, Children’s Robitussin, Children’s Mucinex, Children’s Delsym, Children’s Dimetapp

·         Fluid intake: Increasing fluids will help with symptomatic relief.

·         Nasal Saline: Using this will help clear the congestion.

·         Tylenol and Motrin: Using this will help this age group with discomfort.

·         Blowing their nose and spitting up mucous secretions: Teaching your children these techniques early on will help them feel better and prevent bacterial infections from occurring.

 

It can be normal to have a low-grade fever with these common cold symptoms. However, it is important to note that if at any time your child has a fever, which is considered to be 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, call your child’s pediatric office for additional suggestions on how to care for your child.