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Toddler with Bad Cold, What to Do?

Last week my husband was sick with a bad cold. Now this week my son and I have it. My son is running a temp of 99.8 up to 102.9. We have been giving him Tylenol, cool cloth on his head, pedlyte and water, as much food as he will take (yogurt, toast, soups), and running a humidifier in his room at night. This has been going on since Sunday morning. At times he seams to be doing better and then he is back with a temp and not wanting to eat or drink. I am wondering if I should take him to the doctor. I really don't know what to do about his cough. I know it hurts when I cough and I can take Halls, but I can't give those to him. Anyone have any suggestions?

Forgot to mention he is 2 1/2. And just this morning I did get some pedlyte pops for him. I will try the honey and lemon tonight. Thanks gals!

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give him Motrin, it helps better than Tylenol. And for cough I give my doughter (she is 3years old) Homeopathic Cough Syrup CHESTAL HONEY, a bought it in Fred Meyer in natuaral department. It helps very well. Good luck!

I would take him to the dr. Children taht age should not run a temp that high. There is very good chance that he has an infection that needs to be treated.

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Hi R.,

I have some naturopathic advice for you if you are at all interested. Unless he seems to be getting worse, he is probably better off kept at home. A doctor's office if full of germs that could make him sicker because his is compromised right now. That and if they were to give him an antiobiotic "just in case" that could make him really worse off because first off, a cold is viral and antibiotics won't do a thing to help it, and second, it will wipe out all of the good bacteria in his system that is protecting him from all sorts of things. But use your mother's intuition. If he is getting worse instead of better, then it is time to see the doctor. But I would give it the full 7 days that a virus should take to get better.

Also I would stop giving him tylenol because the fever is fighting the virus and by lowering the fever, you are slowing down his body's immune response. A fever is not going to hurt him, even at 102. When we get a fever it means our body is working correctly. If he complains of a headache, he is dehydrated, which happens easily when we have a fever, so give him popsickles, water, chicken broth (msg free) fruit or fruit juices, anything that will give him fluids. Avoid anything with a lot of sugar or of course caffeine. Fruits are wonderful and have antioxidants and vitamins, so try all sorts of different fruits and offer them often. Oh another thing about Tylenol is that it is hard on their kidneys, it is a drug, and every drug has side effects. Keeping him hydrated will also help with the congestion and keep that humidifier going. :) As for his sore throat, chicken soup is wonderfully soothing. So is cold water. I know it is hard to watch our little ones be sick but it will pass and his immune system will be all the stronger because of it. I hope he feels better soon and I hope something that I shared helps.

1 mom found this helpful

As hard as it is for us mommies, it is important for us not to see fever as the enemy but as an ally in treating the underlying illness causing the fever. Here is some good information to help keep us calm as we endure our kids getting sick:

Fever: Phobia And Fever Myths

Fever is one of our most overrated symptoms. Many parents have unwarranted fears of harm from the moderate fevers that all children experience. This is called fever phobia. It leads to lost sleep, over-treatment and unnecessary office visits. Here are some widely-held myths about fever:

FIRST: Fever causes brain damage. Wrong. The brain is not harmed unless the fever goes above 108° F (42.2° C). And natural fevers from viral and bacterial infections don't go above 105° F (40.6° C).

SECOND: Untreated fevers will keep going higher, to 110° F or 115° F (43.3° C or 46.1° C). Wrong. Even untreated fevers stop at 105 degrees, unless a child is trapped in a hot place (such as a car) or is over dressed. The brain's thermostat keeps fevers from infections within a safe range.

THIRD: Untreated fevers will cause seizures. Wrong for 96% of children. Only 4% of children can develop seizures with fever. And these, while frightening, are brief and harmless. Febrile seizures cause no complications.

FOURTH: Any fever is bad for you. Wrong. The ability to produce fever is present throughout the animal kingdom. Fever turns on the body's immune system and speeds up the production of white blood cells, antibodies, and natural infection-fighting agents. Fever also slows down the multiplication of viruses and bacteria.

IN CONCLUSION: Present evidence suggests that fevers are beneficial and sometimes necessary for survival. When your child has an infection, one of our treatment goals is keeping the fever between 100° F and 102° F (37.8° C and 38.9° C), not eliminating it. Fever is not the enemy.

As hard as it is to watch, try not to reach for meds like Tylenol or Motrin at the first sign of fever. Let the fever do its job and your child's immune system will be far better off for it.

That being said, if you feel he is getting worse with time and not better, than definitely trust your gut and take him in. Just be wary of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed mainly to pacify you as the parent that you are doing something to help your child when most of these illnesses are viral and will not be helped by antibiotics (& unfortunately do much harm to his immune system in the process).

Other references:
I also recommend the book: "How to raise a healthy child in spite of your doctor". Most of the book is actually available online for free. Here is a link to the chapter about fevers:

All natural, organic, handmade hazelwood necklaces for the relief of eczema, acid reflux, & teething pain for babies and their families.

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Is his cough productive? Is he able to cough up phlegm? What color is it? If it's yellow or green he has an upper respiratory infection and he needs to go to the doctor. Same for the nasal discharge, if it's colored, go to the dr. Coughing hurts and he won't be able to get sound sleep. Again the dr can prescribe or recommend the appropriate cough suppressant of expectorant for his situation. When his fever gets really high, a tepid, luke warm bath will also relieve some of the fever. High fevers of 102 or more should also prompt a trip to the doc. Try juice popsicles or just plain popsicles. You can make some with jello water as well (Tupperware popsicle forms, if they still make them). Or make slushie drinks with frozen jello water or juice, blending them up in your blender with ice. Keeping his fluid intake up is important, you want his kidneys functioning to get rid of the infection in his body. Let him pick his foods, try finger jellos as a fun diversion, and you can use pedialyte as the liquid to make the jello, that or fruit juice. Get well soon. It's probably the flu and not just a cold. It's going around and around and around. Wash your hands frequently. Don't share cups, silverware or dishes.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R.,

You are doing a lot of things right with your son, so keep it up. I know it's hard to see your son sick, you want him to feel better soon!

Keep pushing the liquids. You are right about the Halls, as he could choke on them. I believe Pedialyte makes popsicles that you can toss into the freezer, these may help with the sore throat and cough. Look for them at the drugstore near the liquid Pedialyte.

Trust your instincts, if you feel you should take him to the doctor, then do so. You can at the very least call and talk to the nurse, who can help you figure out if your son needs to be seen.

Be sure to watch the fever, anything over 104 degrees is cause for concern.

Hang in there, this too will pass, it will just take awhile. Remember to breathe! :)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R.,.
I'm sure you have lots of advice on the side of meds or off...
My Pediatrican's advice is to call/come asap at 103.. (i'm not taking into account much other symptom's).

The one thing I DO want to ADD... it's not a good idea to let the fever sway up and down/up and down.
for me anything over 100.5ish & my children might be uncomfortable ~ therefore I help them out with what else might really be causing the discomfort. not so much to read the temp down. - but I don't let them go up and down and up - it's not like I'm giving my kids this stuff weekly or anything..

not a nurse,. just a mom :) of 2 boys 5 & 2 1/2.

I would stay away from dairy since that can increase mucus. I think there are also lollipops in the childrens pain relief aisle made by Little remedies meant to soothe throats and coughs. My daughter loves just regular popsicles called Mini Melts in frozen treats section. She is 3 and they are just the right size.

yucky!! we just got over some bad colds in our house too. my 2yr old had such a bad cough he would gag trying to get the phlegm out. i was told to put Vicks on his feet at night and then his socks to help with the cough and i must say it worked. he loved the way it felt too. i'd hook up the vaporizer too, then slather both my boys on chest, back and feet. it works for adults too. hope you're all feeling better soon!

This sounds exactly like what is going on with my daughter right now. We took her to the doctor and found out that she has RSV and an ear infection. They sent us home with a nebulizer and some antibiotics. You should go to the doctor.

Take him to Dr. My son had a bad cough and we happened 2 have his 3 yr check up so it sort of worked out...leaving dr. We found he had walking pnemonia! Took chest xrays and all. My husband was sick the weekend b4 and I think that's what may have triggered it. Hope he feels better soon. K. :)

You've received some great advice that I think will be helpful, but as a mom of 4, I've learned that if the fever lasts longer than five days, you need to go in. My 1st grader had this happen and he wasn't acting very sick, so I even felt a little silly bringing him in. He had mild cold symptoms, and had only started a little cough on day 4. It turned out to be pneumonia! My oldest had recurrent strep throat when she was ages 4-8; sometimes she didn't even have a sore throat, just a fever and stomach ache. I would ask them to test her sometimes when they said her throat didn't look "streppy," and it would be positive. Symptoms are not always the same as there are 200 strains of strep. Untreated strep or pneumonia can be very dangerous, so go in, just to be sure.

Sucrets popsicles. They are so wonderful and my kiddos have loved them while feeling sick. It's a nice treat and soothes the throat. I have also heard of cough strips, but read the directions really closely. My friend didn't realize she was only supposed to give a quarter of a strip to her kiddo. Best of luck and I hope the little one starts feeling better. Mine have been sick for weeks now!!

Also there are some cough strips you can get for toddlers that melt on the tongue. I would take him to a doctor, though. We had the same thing with our son last September - he couldn't seem to shake this cough/cold and when we took him to the doctor, he had walking pneumonia. Apparently it's fairly common in kids. Walking pneumonia is slightly less bad than regular pneumonia, but it requires antiobiotics. Hope you all feel better soon!

Hi R.,

My little guy likes warm herbal tea with honey in it to sooth his chest and throat and Emergen-C packets in water to help his immune system. Just throwing some ideas out there!

D. Rylander

i am sorry your son is so sick. that is always such a bummer...

first thing... i was always told that a fever is good, but that you need a temperature of over 100.3 to count as a fever. i know it is very counter intuitive to say to yourself that the fever is great, but it really is how your child is fighting the sickness, so it is good news until it gets to 104 or your child appears listless (then it is bad news). so basically my doctor said it was best if you could let the fever run it's course (if you can), un-medicated... so it can do it's work.

the other thing that i have found helpful for the coughs is vics vapo rub for babies... i think it is lavender and rosemary? maybe a bit of menthol. and i would run that on my son every night before bed. the other thing i had a lot of luck with was a steamy steamy bath prior to bedtime (shower curtain closed to hold the steam in) and i do mean steamy and LONG! that i think calmed down the cough so sleep could actually happen.

the other thing you can try is this wall mounted vapor thing... (also by vic's) it basically releases the menthol scent into the air while your child sleeps.

also get the humidifieer as close to the head as possible...(i never had much luck with the humidifier).

blah blah blah... right?

good luck and hang in there.

best, c.

I would take him in to the doctor personally this just happened to my 3 1/2 year old and she had an ear infection in both ears. However Emma use to get ear infections all the time so maybe that is why she had one this time. Sunday to Thursday is along time to have a fever I think but we all have different thoughts. Good luck and I hope he gets better soon. Take Care

give him Motrin, it helps better than Tylenol. And for cough I give my doughter (she is 3years old) Homeopathic Cough Syrup CHESTAL HONEY, a bought it in Fred Meyer in natuaral department. It helps very well. Good luck!

I would suggest taking him to the doctor. If his temp was below 103 and he just had a runny nose, then I would say don't, but with a cough I would go. Coughs are very common with colds, but they can turn into other respiratory problems like brocholitis or pneumonia. They will probably tell you to hydrate and rest, but just in case better safe than sorry.

Hi R.,
I'm with you on this one...my 10 month old has had it for about a week now, the cough and runny nose are the worst! I'm doing the same things, humidifier, bulbing the snot out of his nose and using saline to help that come out, Motrin, etc. And another poster mentioned the Motrin is better then Tylenol, and that is right. And it lasts twice as long, too. (8 hours of relief vs 4 hours with Tylenol).
I did take my son in to his Ped and it turned out he had a double ear infection, so just be on the lookout for that, if your son acts like his ears hurt. I called my Ped's nurse again just about a hour ago about my sons coughing still sounding bad, and she said that it is RSV season and that since it's a virus, there's nothing more that I can do and just keep doing what I'm doing to keep him comfortable. And I'll tell you the things she told me to be on the lookout for, that shows the virus is getting worse: 1) if he starts to wheeze 2) if he coughs so hard he vomits and 3) spikes another temp. She said any of those things, call them back and get him in. So just be on the lookout for those with you son. Also, is he stil pretty active other then being sick? My son is still pretty happy-go-lucky and crawls around with his big brother on the floor and plays, so she said as long as his attitude is good, that is another good sign. But if he starts to get really lethargic, call them.

She did say that is appetite for his milk will probably go down and he's going to want more juice (diluted), and that is indeed true, so I think you are doing right with the pedialyte. Hold off on dairy, since it does produce more phlem and mucus.

It's the time of year for these darned virus's, so we just have to ride it out. Just keep him away from very young babies, as the newborns have a very difficult time with RSV. And any if any of those other symptoms above crop up, don't hesitate to get him in ASAP.

Best wishes!!!! ;-)

Normally his fever is nothing to be concerned about, at least as far as the dr is concerned. But I guess RSV has been going around so if the fever persists or just won't go down I would take him to the dr.
It sounds like you are doing everything right and about all you can do. The pedialyte pops and honey and lemon should be soothing. I don't know how you feel about soda but the carbonation in a sprite may be soothing as well. Unfortunately carbonation doesn't work well in a sippy cup so it could be messy.

Hi R.,

I would take him to the doctor just because it could turn into pneumonia or bronchiolitis. This has happened to my 2 1/2 yr old son twice. Otherwise it sounds like you are doing all the right things.

I hope he gets better soon.

I would take him to the dr. Children taht age should not run a temp that high. There is very good chance that he has an infection that needs to be treated.

You will find that Motrin works better on fevers than Tylenol!

Hope he feels better soon.
T. Nelson CD (DONA)

My toddler was doing battle recently. The nurses told me to use either honey (assuming he's over a year old) or corn syrup for coughs - she said it's amazingly useful.
Lukewarm baths are also helpful for fever.
We did find out that our son had a double ear infection and sinus infection (although he had none of the regular symptoms, like pulling on his ear or crying for "no" reason) I felt like a horrible mother - it was so bad that it took 2 courses of antibiotics to get rid of, so if he's got a runny nose too you might want to consider the Doc (and a saline spray!)
Good luck, it's always so sad when the little ones feel bad!

You need to take your child to the doctor. There has been a horrible virus going around the Seattle area since January and it lasts for at least 10 days. We did the same thing that you are doing for our son and finally took him in. He had to go on antibiotics, but it was the only thing that could help him get better.

Unfortunately I got it next and then he got it again as soon as I was better- but not as bad.
Good luck and I hope he is better soon!

Since this has been going for nearly a week, I would recommend taking your son into the doctor's or at least giving your pediatrician a call to see if he/she recommended having your son checked out. Better to go during the week than have things get worse during the weekend when you'd have to hit the ER.

Going in to have it checked wouldn't be a bad idea, but I was going to also suggest baby vaporub - available at the grocery or drug store. you rub it on the back, chest and throat - it provides our son much relief! Hope he is feeling better soon!!

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