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What is the treatment for recurrent attacks of cold, cough and fever in a child?

Q: My 4-year-old daughter is constantly suffering from cold and cough. We live in Kuwait where the climate here is dry and dusty. Doctor has prescribed anti-allergic but they have a temporary effect and as soon as we stop medication the symptoms come back. She also suffers from ear infections at least two to three times a year for which she takes antibiotics. How do I know that my daughter requires antibiotics? Which antibiotic is best for her, Augmentin or Ceclor? What changes do we need to bring in her diet and lifestyle to minimise the problem? She refuses to eat proper food due to constant throat trouble. When we give her a nasal decongestant, her nose starts running. What should we do for that? Should we continue anti-allergics like Cetrizine or give Actifed syrup instead, as I have noticed that Actifed syrup helps with a runny nose. Please suggest a right combination of medicines for her.

A:Fever, cough and colds generally indicate an upper respiratory tract infection and rarely due to infection in the lungs (lower respiratory tract). In most situations it is due to viral infections, rarely bacteria and often not due to the same organism. Most of the cough & cold in children is due to viral infection and would take about 5-6 days to subside. In many cases, the cold and cough may take a little longer and might persist for a variable duration of time. Though irritating and discomforting, this illness is relatively mild with no long lasting effects. Treatment will depend upon the findings in the throat and chest. There is no need to give an antibiotic in these cases. Paracetamol/brufen would help in controlling the fever. The effect usually lasts for about 4-6 hours if adequate dose is given. Look after her nutrition making sure to offer her warm fluids like milk or whatever she likes to eat frequently, since a child's appetite is often suppressed during illness. Recurrent attacks suggest the possibility of an underlying disorder like low immunity, malnutrition, damp or polluted environment and the development of asthma. It is also important to rule out the beginning of a tuberculous infection (primary complex). Actifed and cetrizine are both antihistaminics and only one need be given. Put Nasoclear (saline) nose drops in both nostrils to keep the air passages open. There is no need for antibiotics.


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