As a parent, it can be difficult to distinguish between common cold signs and the symptoms of something more serious. Do you know the telltale signs to watch out for in children and when it may be time to visit a professional at Holy Cross Urgent Care? We’ve outlined some of these symptoms below to help you recognize when they may become a cause for concern.
1. Runny Nose
When a foreign entity, like a virus, enters the body, the immune system produces excess mucus to fight off infection. The mucus barrier in the nose traps germs, bacteria, and allergens to flush them from the body by sneezing or blowing the nose. While this is a natural means of defense against sickness and infection, excess mucus production can result in a congested or runny nose. If your child’s runny nose persists for longer than 10 days or is accompanied by other symptoms such as a fever, sore throat, or body aches, visit your closest Holy Cross Urgent Care clinic.
The cold virus can irritate or inflame your child’s throat, causing them to cough. Coughing can also be caused by a postnasal drip in which excess mucus drips from the nose into the throat. This action helps to clear away mucus or other irritants from your child’s airways. Though this is typically mild and intermittent, coughing can become a reason for worry.
Parents should be concerned if their child has a severe, persistent cough that lasts for more than two weeks, or if it is accompanied by shortness of breath, chest pain, or fever. This may indicate a more serious underlying problem such as pneumonia or bronchitis and require medical attention.
Sneezing is a natural response to nasal irritation. And, it is often part of the body’s attempt to get rid of viruses. Parents should pay attention to frequent or forceful sneezing, however, as this could be a sign of a cold or other viruses. Sneezing that is accompanied by symptoms such as congestion, sore throat, or coughing could also be cause for concern. If you notice your child is sneezing excessively, consult with your doctor for further evaluation.
4. Sore Throat
When a child has a sore throat, it can be a sign of viral infection. Generally, a sore throat caused by a cold will last for three to four days and should resolve on its own. But, if their sore throat lasts longer, this could be a sign of a more serious infection like strep throat or tonsillitis. Parents should also look out for any other symptoms like fever, swollen lymph nodes, white patches on the tonsils, and difficulty swallowing.
Drinking plenty of water and gargling warm salt water can help alleviate a sore throat caused by the common cold. If your child’s symptoms worsen or don’t improve after several days, it’s important to seek medical attention for further diagnosis.
A fever may indicate that the body is fighting off a virus. A mild fever, typically ranging from 98.8°F to 100.3°F, is often not a cause for concern and may be managed with over-the-counter medications. However, parents should seek medical attention if their child has a higher temperature or a fever that lasts more than two days. Watch out for other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, persistent coughing, and rapid heartbeat. If you notice any combination of these common cold signs in your child, contact your doctor right away to discuss the best treatment plan.
6. Body Aches
If a child is experiencing body aches, this could be a sign of the common cold. Common cold signs, such as muscle aches, typically develop within three days and last up to two weeks. These most often affect the upper neck and back with mild to muscle severe pain. Parents should be particularly concerned if their child’s body aches are paired with fever, chills, fatigue, or nausea. In these cases, it is important to seek medical advice for further assessment and treatment.
It is not out of the ordinary for a child to feel fatigued while their immune system fights off a cold. However, parents need to know the difference between a normal amount of tiredness associated with the cold virus and more serious signs. Mild fatigue is alleviated with rest and is typically not a cause for concern. But if the tiredness persists for more than a few days or worsens over time, visit our urgent care for a professional evaluation. In some cases, an underlying condition may be the cause.
If Your Child Has These Common Cold Signs, Visit Us!
Don’t let a cold start your child’s year off on the wrong foot. Pay attention to common cold signs and visit Holy Cross Urgent Care to help speed up their recovery. We offer two locations in Rio Vista and Coral Springs. Simply stop by your closest clinic location or check-in online to help make your wait even shorter. With our help, your child can feel better, faster!