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Taking a child in to see dr. for a cold/respiratory illness?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
My brand new 2 year old has had a very mucousy cold for the last 5 days and last night he developed a very strong, barking cough. He has energy this a.m. and is playing pretty normally but his appetite is not good and he hasn't been sleeping well due to all the draining and cough.

I am more concerned about the deep cough than anything else. But because he seems to be fairly energetic and happy I suppose he doesn't seem sick enough to be taken in to see a doctor. My kids are hardly ever sick and I'd hate to keep waiting if things are just going to get worse but at the same time if this is a normal part of a cold virus (which I know has to just run its course) then I don't want to waste the doctor's time nor do I want to get all my children packed up and out to be told to continue to do what I am already doing.

When do you decide it is time for your toddler to see the doctor for a respiratory illness?
post #2 of 6
A common cold virus lasts 10-14 days with the coughing and drainage becoming worse toward the middle of the cold. If you son is acting normal, eating, playing, and doesn't seem miserable or in distress I would not take him to be seen. The Dr. can't do anything for a cold virus and your little one has a good chance of picking up something else on top of his cold in the waiting room at the Dr.'s.

I only go in if my child has been acting 'off', has a high fever for more than 24 hrs, or has respiratory distress, and usually I will call and have our nurse 'triage' first before making an appointment.
post #3 of 6
Sometimes I find it so difficult trying to figure this out myself. I try to wait it out most times. In your case I would probably wait longer. I would keep an eye on his breathing and make sure he isn't having any trouble with that. Also, keep an eye on a fever popping up. My twins were recently sick and dd had a cough like that and ended up being diagnosed with ear infections and bronchitis but she also had a fever off/on for 6 days as well as being COMPLETELY miserable and sleeping all the time.

Hope he feels better soon. Colds with kids can be awful and last soooo long.
post #4 of 6
DS just got over bronchitis that we caught when we went to the ped for an unrelated issue. He was congested, but he's been congested all winter. He was coughing, but that wasn't new either. He was a little more tired and cranky than usual, but I thought it was because of the new baby. One night he had a low fever, and the day we took him in the ped found a low fever (37.5 C, which is a normal temp for an adult, but the ped said it should have been lower).

So, in some cases, you just don't know.

I always take DS in if or when a) he's wheezing-- that's nothing to mess with, b) his ears hurt and c) the illness is dragging on more than 10 days without getting better.
post #5 of 6
We're dealing with coughing here too that sounds much like your DS. We have a friend who is a naturopath, so I always check with her first before I take her to the dr. She said not to worry, it's the same thing she's seen in tons of kids right now.

To help her though, we are doing a couple of things. She gets Old Indian Wild Cherry Bark syrup in the morning and evening. Also, in her room at night I put one drop each of Eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree oil into a bowl of boiling water beside her crib (you can also do it under the bed for an older child so they don't knock it over). It smells like Vicks Vapo Rub and has really helped ease her coughing at night and allowed her to get more sleep.
post #6 of 6
Just call/email your doc & check in. I did this a few weeks ago with my 1yo DS -- he was really sick, sicker than he'd ever been, but I didn't think there was much the doc could do, so I just sent him an email with the symptoms etc. and the doc said it was something going around & recommended a homeopathic remedy (which we didn't end up using) but it made me feel so much better just to have 'touched base' with him.
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