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What causes runny nose?

DOCTOR OF THE MONTH - May 2014
May 2014
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Answered by

Radiologist
Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 6391 Questions
Question
My 2 year old grandson keeps a runny nose and whenever I am with him for more than a couple of hours, I get a case of infected sinuses or the flu or something that requires antibiotics. This has happened over and over and his other grandparents have noticed the same thing. We had him checked for the possible need for ear tubes, but his pressures are OK. The assumption has been that he just has the day care crud because he is in day care with a few other school age kids. What could be going on? at what age could he be given antibiotics? I think he is carrying something. ,
Posted Sun, 23 Mar 2014 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
 
 
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 58 minutes later
Brief Answer: Please find detailed answer below Detailed Answer: Hi XXXX Thanks for writing in to us. At two years of age, your grandson is quite young. He might be having viral flu and this is usually a self limited condition requiring supportive treatment. His sinuses and the air cells in his mastoid (behind the ear) are still in development phase and yet to form completely. On many occasions children with such viral infections are seen to be suffering from a secondary bacterial infection at the same time. This bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics. I suggest you get a swab culture done from the nasal discharge and throat. This will help identify any particular organism possibly causing the repeated infection. Once the bacteria is isolated in culture, the antibiotic most sensitive to kill the germ may be given in pediatric doses keeping in mind his age and body weight. Your doctor will know which antibiotic can be safely given to control the infection. Hope your query is answered. Please do write back if you have any doubts. Regards, Dr.Vivek
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Follow-up: What causes runny nose? 52 minutes later
What is meant by a self limiting condition?....This has been going on for about six months.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 12 minutes later
Brief Answer: Please find clarification below Detailed Answer: Hi XXXX Thanks for writing back to us. A self limiting condition is usually seen in infections like flu caused by viruses. In these conditions the virus attacks the person (host) and undergoes an incubation period through which it multiplies in numbers and then affects the hosts immune system. When the viruses are in sufficient numbers, clinical symptoms develop and then in a few days time the virus numbers decline over a convalescent period. During the convalescent period the host is already weak and this can cause secondary bacterial infections. Viral infections by themselves do not respond to antibiotics but when there is secondary bacterial infection, antibiotics help in killing the bacteria. Flu viruses come in new strains every season (two to three months apart) and the child needs to be protected from extreme weather conditions and possible sources of infection. Hope your query is answered. Please do write back if you have any doubts. Regards, Dr.Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: What causes runny nose? 13 minutes later
What is meant by a self limiting condition?....This has been going on for about six months.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 10 minutes later
Brief Answer: Please find detailed answer below Detailed Answer: Hi XXXX Thanks for writing back to us. I am sorry if you found my earlier reply a bit complicated. A self limiting disease condition is a disease process that resolves spontaneously with or without specific treatment. If your grandson has been having repeated similar infections for the last six months then it is possible that he is getting infected by different strains of the flu. A secondary bacterial infection also needs to be ruled out clinically by doing swab culture tests. Hope your query is answered. Please do write back if you have any doubts. Regards, Dr.Vivek
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