You waken at three in the morning to the sound of your coughing eight-year-old child. You stumble down the hallway to his room to check on him and you hear his chest rattling. He is unable to breath through his stuffy nose and he feels like he has a fever. Another coughing fit hits him and he vomits some green mucus. What should you do? His fever worries you. Should you call your doctor or take him to the ER?
Your one-year-old has had a green runny nose and a cough for two weeks, but he seems happy and playful, has no fever, and has been sleeping relatively well. Should you take him to the doctor? Could this be an ear infection or sinus infection?
Your three-year-old has had a fever for the past three days, along with a runny nose and cough. It's Sunday, and your doctor isn't available. Should you take him to the ER, or perhaps the clinic down the street?
Here is a guide to helping you understand coughs and colds. Does green nose mean a sinus infection? Is a fever cause for worry? How do you tell if your child has bronchitis? Should you take him in to the doctor, or wait a few days? These and many other questions will be answered as we discuss how to get your child through the common cold, how to treat his symptoms, and how to decide when to see the doctor.
Coughs and colds are seldom a reason to go to the ER or page your doctor in the middle of the night. There are guidelines at the end of this discussion that instruct you when to go to the ER or page your doctor.