What to do when your child is sick

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — During the winter months it’s not just the flu people are trying to avoid.

The common cold can also strike.

Coughing and sneezing are common this time of year, and chances are when it strikes one of your kids — it hits them all. Hilary Rockwell’s four kids have been fairly healthy this season, but she does have a plan in place when they do come down with something.

“The big things are, are they hydrated? Like if they can’t keep things down, getting dry, not peeing, trouble breathing. Those are the reasons I would go to the doctor,” Rockwell said.

Dr. Jennifer Haggar says difficulty breathing, dehydration and low energy levels are good indications it’s time to see a doctor.

“If something just feels off, we pay a lot of attention to parent’s concern because they know their children best, and if they’re just not comfortable with how they’re doing it’s worth a visit to the doctor to make sure everything looks ok,” Haggar said.

She says if your child is fighting a cold but seems to be doing OK, you don’t have to head into the clinic. The main thing she says parents should focus on is clearing out their child’s nose.

“I think about us as adults when we have illnesses, we blow our nose, we sniff and swallow and kids just can’t do that so we really work hard to teach parents how to clear the nose,” Haggar said.

She suggests over-the-counter nasal saline spray, and then following up by clearing the nose with a bulb syringe.

And when it comes to giving your child over-the-counter medicine doctors say there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind.

“There’s a lot of over-the-counter cough and cold medications that we really try to avoid in children. They often aren’t very helpful and they certainly haven’t been proven to be safe for kids that age,” Haggar said.

She says parents should also avoid ibuprofen for any child under 6 months old– and instead recommends sticking to nasal spray, adding that if your child still seems uncomfortable Tylenol is ok.

Haggar says if you’re still unsure if your child should be seen by a doctor, phone calls with questions are always welcome to have a medical expert help you determine your next steps.

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