Sore Throats and Stuffy Noses

Coughing, sneezing, sore throats, and sad faces can indicate a wide variety of sicknesses that may be plaguing your child. But not all illness is created equal.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and strep throat are two common conditions that could be causing your child discomfort. It is important to recognize the symptoms of each illness so you can treat it appropriately. Rest, fluids, and the right medications can help your child feel better.

By Katy Mena

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This infection of the lungs and breathing passages looks a lot like the common cold in adults, causing a runny nose, cough, fever, and sore throat. However, some babies with the respiratory illness may develop bronchiolitis or pneumonia (more serious lung infections) as a result.  This is one reason why infants are sometimes given monthly injections to prevent it.

Because RSV is caused by a virus rather than a bacterial infection, it will not respond to antibiotics. A child with RSV should get plenty of rest and drink a lot of fluids. Cool mist humidifiers may make breathing more comfortable, and over-the-counter non-aspirin can help with fevers and pain. Most babies will not get seriously ill, but if your child’s fever gets unusually high or cough worsens, call your doctor.

Strep Throat

Caused by a bacterial infection, strep throat may start as a simple sore throat. But within a few days, it will begin to cause swollen glands, red and white patches in the throat, fever, and nausea.

If your child is exhibiting any symptoms of strep throat, call your pediatrician. They can determine if your child has strep through a simple throat culture. If your child has the infection, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic. It is important to take this medicine exactly as prescribed to prevent the infection from recurring and spreading to other parts of the body.