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How To Tell If Baby Has Cold Or Allergies

Does My Child Have A Cold

How to know if your child has a cold versus an allergy.

Common colds happen when a virus enters your body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. “Once the virus is in your body, it replicates until your immune system or medication are able to fight it off,” says Dr. Jain. Symptoms usually appear within a few days of exposure to the virus, and they might include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Mild headache

Whats Up With Their Buddies

Your childâs friends could be a big clue. Have you noticed any of them sniffling lately? Kids tend to pass colds and other illnesses back and forth.

âMost parents know who their kids have been around. We know whatâs going through the community,â McMorris says.

If other children aren’t sick around your child, then you may have to think of other issues that might be causing their symptoms.

Is It A Cold Or Allergies Seasonal Allergy Symptoms In Kids

Your child has a runny nose, watery eyes and is more tired than usual. Shes also congested and has a headache. Is it allergies or a cold? Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between seasonal allergies and the common cold especially in kids. Use the information below to help you determine seasonal allergy symptoms in kids.

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When Should You Get Your Child Tested

Your pediatrician will help decide if your child should be tested depending on their:

  • Likelihood of exposure
  • Availability of tests in your location
  • School requirements

Additionally, the CDC encourages that children attending school in person should receive COVID-19 tests if they have:

  • Symptoms of coronavirus
  • Loss of taste and smell in older children
  • No symptoms, but theyve come into close contact with a person with a probable or a confirmed case of the infection

A true negative test means your child doesnt have COVID-19, although they may still have a cold. To treat the cold, you can:

  • Use saline nose drops
  • Give your child a dash of lemon and a spoonful of honey mixed in warm water I children over 12 months old
  • Ensure they drink plenty of fluids and get enough rest

On the other hand, if your child does test positive for COVID-19, contact tracers can inform others who might have had earlier exposure to the virus sooner.

While your child has symptoms, keep them at home from other activities. This is essential to avoid the risk of spreading the disease.

It also gives their body ample time to rest, allowing the immune system to work and fight off the infection. Maintaining good hygiene in the house is equally important.

Frequently disinfect and clean high-touch surfaces such as faucets, doorknobs, handles, and light switches to minimize the spread of the virus. If your child has COVID-19, avoid spreading the virus to other members of your family by following CDC protocols.

How To Tell If Your Child Has Allergies Or A Cold

Cold vs. Allergies in Kids: 12 Ways to Tell the Difference ...

It can be hard to know if your childs sneezing and runny nose is due to allergies or the common cold. Look for these clues to help tell the difference.


A child with a runny nose, congestion, and coughing: Its a cold, right? Maybe not. Symptoms of respiratory allergies can look a lot like a cold, making it difficult for parents and sometimes even doctors to tell the difference.

We see kids coming in with the diagnosis of recurrent infections and sometimes what they actually have is allergies, says Nicholas Bennett, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics and adjunct assistant professor of pharmacy at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and medical director of the department of infectious diseases and immunology at Connecticut Childrens Medical Center in Hartford.

This is a common occurrence because theres an overlap between allergy symptoms and the symptoms of an infection. Distinguishing between the two is particularly hard when spring approaches because winter respiratory viruses are still circulating while trees are producing pollen, Dr. Bennett says.

But there are some signs you can look for to determine whats behind your childs symptoms. Heres what to do:

Theres a caveat, however. Itchy eyes can also be a sign of pink eye, he says. If itchy eyes are also pink or red with a discharge that forms a crust, take your child to the doctor to be checked for pink eye.

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What Should I Do To Protect Myself And Loved Ones

In the midst of flu season, doctors recommend getting a flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine, if you havenât already. And, donât let up on what youâve learned during the pandemic: Wash your hands frequently, donât touch your face with your hands, social distance, and wear a mask indoors, even if you are vaccinated, if you are in areas with high rates of transmission, if you or a family member has a weakened immune system, or if it just makes you feel more comfortable.

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people might choose to mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in their household is unvaccinated.

More: Stay home, even if you donât know if itâs COVID-19

People who are at increased risk for severe disease include older adults and those who have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart conditions, or if they are overweight or obese.

The CDC also recommends that people with compromised immune systems should wear a mask, social distance, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

Free Press staff writer Kristen Jordan Shamus contributed to this article.

Do Allergies Run In Your Family

If either parent has allergies, thereâs a higher chance your child will, too. The odds go up even more if both of you do.

âItâs very much a genetic condition,â McMorris says.

Likewise, if both of you have asthma, your children are also likely to get it. About 25% to 30% of children with one parent who has asthma will have the disease.

Many people who have asthma also have allergies. Doctors call this âallergic asthma.â They can share triggers, such as pollen, pet dander, and mold spores.

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Protect Your Child During Cold Season

The doctors here at Chicago ENT recommend that you make an appointment with us if youre concerned about your childs symptoms during cold season. Our board-certified pediatric otolaryngologist, Dr. Colman, will advise you if a COVID-19 test is necessary.

But if your child is experiencing symptoms that include ear, nose, and throat conditions, like breathing and airway issues, as well as sinus and nose problems, our pediatric otolaryngologist will provide world-class care and treatment after a proper diagnosis to ensure optimal health and development of your child.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Colman at Chicago ENT in Lincoln Park, Chicago, today to discuss the right course of action for your child!

Common Allergy Triggers In Children

How can I tell if my child has seasonal allergies?
  • Outdoors: tree pollen, plant pollen, insect bites or stings
  • Indoors: pet or animal hair or fur, dust mites, mold
  • Irritants: cigarette smoke, perfume, car exhaust
  • Foods: peanuts, eggs, milk and milk products

If you suspect your child has an allergy, make an appointment to see an allergist. Start a diary before the appointment and keep track of what symptoms your child experiences and what you think causes them.

It’s changed his life drastically. Now he’s just very vibrant and outgoing. He’s healthier and he can do things that he couldn’t do.

Josh’s Mom

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Is There A Fever

Allergies can bring on sneezing, watery eyes, itchiness of the eyes, nose, and roof of the mouth, and sometimes a sore throat.

But âyou donât get fever with allergies,â even though they’re often called âhay fever,â says Marc McMorris, MD. He’s a pediatric allergist and immunologist with C.S. Mott Childrenâs Hospital.

âUsually, colds will come on gradually and you get runny nose, itchy eyes, and a low-grade fever .â

Tips To Avoid Allergy Symptoms

You can take precautions against allergy symptoms by following a few simple guidelines:

  • Since the pollen count peaks in the late morning and early afternoon , keep your child indoors at this time.
  • Keep the windows of your house and car closed to minimize your child’s exposure to allergens , check pollen counts, and don’t let your child outside when people are mowing their lawns.
  • Allergy testing might also help if you aren’t sure what is triggering your child’s allergy symptoms. If the test reveals an allergy to ragweed, then you won’t be surprised when they begin getting allergy symptoms when the ragweed counts are high.

If your child has allergy symptoms, there are many prescription and over-the-counter medications available that can help. OTC options include antihistamine nasal sprays or pills . Contact your child’s doctor to determine the best medication to treat their symptoms.

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When To Call The Doctor For Baby Cold Symptoms

For most common colds, theres no need to visit the pediatrician unless you’re concerned it might be something more serious like the flu or COVID-19. But if your baby is under 3 months old or if its your babys first cold, its a good idea to get in touch with your practitioner, if only to put your mind at ease.

Otherwise, watch for any of these signs that your little one’s illness is getting worse and be sure to call the doctor if your baby:

  • Is experiencing her very first cold
  • Seems to be especially out of sorts
  • Is lethargic
  • Refuses to eat or drink
  • Develops a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher on a rectal thermometer and is under 3 months old
  • Has a fever of over 100.4 F and is 3 months or older .
  • Has a cough thats getting worse or continues during the day after other symptoms are gone
  • Breathes significantly more rapidly than usual
  • Has greenish-yellow, foul-smelling nasal discharge from the nose or from coughing
  • Has swollen glands in the neck
  • Pulls on her ear
  • Has symptoms lasting longer than 10 days

If your baby seems to have a continuous cold, a chronically runny nose or very long-lasting or frequent colds , talk to the doctor about whether allergies might be responsible .

If Antihistamines Work It’s Probably An Allergy

How To Tell The Difference If Your Child Has A Cold Or ...

For children over age 1 year, you can use an antihistamine to help determine whether they have colds or allergies. “Try a non-sedating antihistamine. If your child gets no relief within the next day or two, it’s probably a cold virus,” explains Dr. Lee. “However, if symptoms clear up quickly with the antihistamine, your child probably suffers from seasonal allergy symptoms.”

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Care Advice For A Cold

  • What You Should Know About Colds:
  • It’s normal for healthy children to get at least 6 colds a year. This is because there are so many viruses that cause colds. With each new cold, your child’s body builds up immunity to that virus.
  • Most parents know when their child has a cold. Sometimes, they have it too or other children in child care have it. Most often, you don’t need to call or see your child’s doctor. You do need to call your child’s doctor if your child develops a complication. Examples are an earache or if the symptoms last too long.
  • The normal cold lasts about 2 weeks. There are no drugs to make it go away sooner.
  • But, there are good ways to help many of the symptoms. With most colds, the starting symptom is a runny nose. This is followed in 3 or 4 days by a stuffy nose. The treatment for each symptom is different.
  • Here is some care advice that should help.
  • For a Runny Nose with Lots of Discharge:Suction the Nose
  • The nasal mucus and discharge are washing germs out of the nose and sinuses.
  • For younger children, gently suction the nose with a suction bulb.
  • Put petroleum jelly on the skin under the nose. Wash the skin first with warm water. This will help to protect the nostrils from any redness.
  • Nasal Saline to Open a Blocked Nose:
  • Use saline nose spray to loosen up the dried mucus. If you don’t have saline, you can use a few drops of water. Use distilled water, bottled water or boiled tap water.
  • Step 1. Put 1 drop in each nostril.
  • Fluids – Offer More:
  • Treating Common Colds In Children

    • Use saline solution in the nose to loosen congestion and help children blow their noses. Or, suck out the congestion with a bulb syringe.
    • Try certain home remedies to help relieve your child’s symptoms. For children over age 1 year, a spoonful of honey by mouth may help soothe a sore throat.
    • Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as prescribed by your doctor, to treat aches, pain and fever.
    • For children over age 2 years, you can use mentholated ointments on top of the chest to soothe and calm coughs, especially nighttime coughs.
    • For children over age 6 years, you can use a topical decongestant such as nasal spray to help relieve nasal congestion. If used, use at night for no more than 3 days in a row.
    • Learn when to consult your physician if your young baby has common cold symptoms.

    Keep in mind that oral cough and cold medications are not recommended for children under the age of 6 years. “Typically, I try to avoid oral cough and cold medications for children of any age,” says Dr. Lee. “They are not effective and can have potential side effects, such as elevated blood pressure.”

    If your child’s cold and allergy symptoms last more than two weeks, consult your doctor. If you are concerned your childs symptoms are COVID-19, you should also contact your childs pediatrician. Learn more about allergies vs. COVID-19.

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    Are Your Symptoms Consistent With The Flu

    In the US, the flu season is coming to an end, whereas COVID-19 numbers continue to rise. So, flulike symptoms should prompt concern for COVID-19.

    Key symptoms:Flu is characterized by fever, chills, muscle aches, and exhaustion. It classically comes on suddenly, as opposed to the more gradual onset of the common cold. More mild symptoms can also occur, similar to the common cold, such as a runny nose, sore throat, and headache. Vomiting and diarrhea are uncommon in adults, but can happen in children.

    How can I be certain I have the flu? Flu is diagnosed based on a swab test performed by a healthcare provider. Prescription medications can limit the duration of influenza symptoms, but need to be started promptly. The flu vaccine is also an important part of prevention. The duration of symptoms is approximately one week, with symptom improvement occurring around five days.

    Other Steps You Can Take

    Is It a Cold or Allergies?

    Theres not much you can do to protect yourself from allergies when you are outside, but you should strive to make your home as allergy-free as possible. Combining a variety of different allergen-reducing techniques can make you more comfortable.

    These techniques include:

    • Cut down on pet dander. Consider a hypoallergenic dog or give your dog or cat weekly baths to reduce dander accumulation. If your pet has long hair, consider getting them shaved. Keep your dog or cat out of your bedroom.
    • Eradicate dust mites. Keep your home clean and uncluttered, get rid of wall-to-wall carpeting, and put protective covers on furniture cushions to keep your home free of dust mites.
    • Vacuum. Vacuuming twice per week with a vacuum containing a HEPA filter reduces airborne allergens.
    • Dehumidify. Mold thrives in moist, warm environments. Air out your bathroom after showers or run a dehumidifier to suck moisture from the air.
    • Get rid of houseplants. House plants make a great home for dust mites and mold spores. Reduce your number of house plants and get rid of dried flowers.
    • Control cockroaches. Cockroaches are common in urban areas and in the southern United States. Set traps and avoid leaving out food.

    Its not always possible to prevent allergy symptoms. Often, you can only treat symptoms as they arise. There are many prescription and over-the-counter options available, including:

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    Diagnosing Colds And Allergies

    You dont need to see your doctor for a cold, but if you do make an appointment, your symptoms will likely be enough for them to confirm your diagnosis.

    If your doctor thinks you might have a bacterial infection such as strep throat or pneumonia, you might need other tests such as a throat culture or chest X-ray.

    For allergies, you may need to see a primary care doctor, an ear-nose-throat doctor, or an allergist. The doctor will first ask about your symptoms. Severe or life-threatening allergic reactions often require the care of an allergy specialist.

    A variety of tests can be used to diagnose allergies. A skin test can be used to determine your allergy triggers. Sometimes primary doctors or allergy specialists may also use blood tests to diagnose allergies depending on your age and other health conditions.

    If My Kid Has The Sniffles Is It Covid Or A Cold

    Posted in Pediatric | May 12, 2021

    Before COVID-19, many parents anticipated that their children would develop colds during the colder months. Typical symptoms include coughs, low-grade fever, stuffy noses, and sore throats.

    But amid the pandemic, the same symptoms could be a sign of COVID-19. So, how do you tell whether your child has a cold or COVID-19?

    What do you do if your kid is warm to the touch, catches a cold, or has a runny nose? While theres still a lot of research required to completely understand how COVID-19 impacts children, present medical studies and reports reveal that kids have been mostly spared from the far-reaching complications of coronavirus.

    That said, there have also been increasing incidences of severe and life-threatening illnesses like the new pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome that occurs after developing COVID-19. For this reason, there is a great need to understand both symptoms.

    Keep reading to find out if the symptoms your child is exhibiting could be due to COVID-19 or if its just the sniffles from a cold!

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