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Experts in the field of Medicine
Shireen Khan
GP Paediatrician
Paediatrics, Neonatology, Child rights/Child Abuse, Immunization, Clinical Research
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Article by Shireen Khan...
Cough, Colds & Allergies

Most common in children, however, symptoms start to get better after 2-3 days, then a chesty cough may develop. Most colds are self limiting

What are the Symptoms?
Sneezing or Dry cough, irritation or tickle at the back of the throat, runny nose, watery eyes, congestion & fever

What is recommended?
Appropriate treatment is based on relieving the child's Symptoms:
Antihistamines clear up runny noses & paracetamol will reduce fever associated with a cold

Coughing is the natural way of clearing blocked air-ways. Dry or stubborn coughs are usually caused by viral infections & can be irritating. They can be triggered by postnasal drip

What are the symptoms?
Dry irritating, stubborn cough, tickle or irritation at the back of the throat. Little or no mucus and may be accompanied by a runny nose

What is recommended?
Cough suppressants are usually recommended. A mixture of honey & lemon is soothing for young children

Coughs accompanied by wheezing, difficulty in breathing & shortness of breath are potential signs of asthma or bronchitis Such patients require immediate referral to their doctors!

Such coughs are productive or bronchial i.e. they produce mucus. Chesty coughs follow colds, are aggravated by excess mucus in the airways These coughs should never be suppressed as it may aggravate the infection.

What are the symptoms
Deep chest cough with thick sticky mucus or catarrh May be accompanied by hoarseness or a sore throat.

What is recommended?
Expectorants like guaifenesin A decongestant can help make breathing easier, here, too, a mixture of honey & lemon
Watch out...
For colored or blood stained mucus. Thick yellow or green mucus is a possible
sign of a chest infection

This occurs when viral infections cause excessive mucus to be produced. This catarrh becomes thick & sticky, making it difficult to breathe. Older children may complain of pain around the nasal area

What are the symptoms?
Blocked nose, thick clear mucus, difficulty in breathing through the nose, may be accompanied by pain around the nasal area & may have difficulty feeding (babies under one year)

What is Recommended?
Small babies should never be given nasal sprays, instead they can be given normal saline drops Older children can be given nasal decongestants

When there is no improvement after a few days, babies under the age of one year, in chesty coughs, colored or blood stained phlegm, in dry coughs, recurrent night time coughing, shortness of breath or wheezing, whooping cough or croup, raised temperature, vomiting or diarrhea. Also when there is earache or discharge form the ear & refusal to eat or difficulty swallowing


Inhale steam
Older children may benefit from inhaling steam, using the old fashioned method of covering the head with a towel & placing it over a bowl of hot water.
This should always be carried out under parental supervision & the child should NEVER be left alone!

Drink plenty of fluids
It is important to give frequent small drinks every hour to avoid dehydration.
Any food offered should be simple and appealing

Rest if appropriate
Most pediatricians advise patients to let a child decide if they want to rest. If a
child is feeling unwell, they may automatically want to stay in bed. Alternatively if their symptoms are quite mild, they may feel well enough to go to school or play.

Prop up the head & shoulders at night
If the child is over two, place a pillow under the head at night. This will reduce the mucus dripping down the throat, aggravating the cough

Make the child comfortable
The child should not be over dressed as this may increase fever, particularly in a
heated home. Avoid taking very young babies (under one year) outside if the
weather is chilly.

An allergy is an abnormal reaction by the body to an allergen or substance that it believes to be a threat.
Common allergens are pollen, house dust mites, animal hair & certain food s& chemicals. When the body comes in contact with an allergen the immune system releases antibodies. This then triggers the release of histamine. Histamine then causes allergy related symptoms

What are the Symptoms?
Runny nose, catarrh, nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy watery eyes, tickle at the back of the throat and others.

What is Recommended?
Identify the cause of the allergy, give anti allergy treatment and avoid the allergens

When Should I Refer my child to a doctor?
When there is wheezing or shortness of breath tightness in the chest, difficulty in swallowing, painful ears or sinuses, discharge from the eyes,

Tips for Allergies
Try & identify the cause of allergy & avoid clothing & bedding made of wool or feathers. Dust & vacuum regularly, keep windows closed especially at night. Splash eyes with cold water when going outdoors. Avoid stroking pets

View all articles of expert Shireen Khan

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