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Child took antibiotic for ear infection. Currently having fever and cough. Took tylenol. What's going on?

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Pediatrician, Critical Care
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 208 Questions
My 3.5 yr old son has had a low grade fever since Monday. It started in the early afternoon. We went out to lunch, which he threw up about an hr later. Fever is around 100.5 to 101.5. It got to 102 at one point yesterday and I gave him Tylenol. That worked for a few hrs and he acted more "normal". After it wore off he was lazy again. Still hasn't gone over 101.4 or so since then. He hasn't eaten much, crackers, milk, and juice are about all. He says he's full when asked. He did have some yogurt today, when I was having it he finished mine. Drinking water and going to the bathroom, so not dehydrated. He also has a cough that has made him throw up (mostly water) a couple of times. He had an ear infection in mid January and had a round of antibiotics, so I'm a little concerned with pumping him too full of them. What do you think?
Posted Wed, 3 Apr 2013 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Tejas Shah 19 minutes later

Thanks for posting your query here.

I am sorry to hear about your son's current symptoms.

Based on symptoms of fever and cough, it seems he has due to viruses. However, occasionally, if the viral infection is severe - there could be associated bacterial infection as well.

The symptoms of viral respiratory tract infection usually last for about 5-7 days and then they start recovering from it, because of our immunity and infection fighting mechanisms.

It is really good to know that he is currently taking some milk, juice, cracker, yoghurt etc. His appetite definitely is reduced, but with his intake of milk, juice, water etc and going to bathroom suggests he is keeping himself well-hydrated. Once he starts recovering from infection, his appetite should improve and back to pre-illness state.

For his fever - I would suggest to use 'Tylenol', as and when needed, maximum 4 times a day. You can try Cough medications available over the counter, as per the dose recommendations on the medication container.

Following are the signs (signs of severe illness) you need to look for:
1. Fever not responding to Tylenol
2. Breathing difficulties or color change
3. Very sleepy and unarousable/arousable with great difficulty
4. Persistent Vomiting
5. Passing very less Urine

If any of these symptoms appear, please see your Physician/Pediatrician as soon as possible.

At this juncture, I think he does not need any antibiotics. Please use tissues to cover his mouth when he is coughing and bin it. If symptoms don't start to improve by weekend, he would need to see family Physician and may be at that stage, consider some antibiotics based on assessment by your Physician.

Hope I have answered your queries. Please feel free to revert back to me if there are any more queries/doubts etc.

Wishing your son a quicker recovery.

Dr Tejas Shah

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