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What is the treatment for chest congestion and runny nose in toddlers?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 1230 Questions
My 15 month old grandson has been congested from birth. He has been in daycare since the age of 4 months old again. They were here for the holidays and he is sick again with heavy congestion in his chest and his nose runs constantly. I understand that he's teething but I have never heard a child with such congestion. They have been to the doctor on numerous occasions and were told he is fine. He has also been underweight for a few months but now is eating very well and is where he should be for his age. He was born at 9 lbs.
Posted Mon, 20 Jan 2014 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Vaishalee Punj 40 minutes later
Brief Answer: Hi Detailed Answer: Hi Thanks for your query. The baby seems to be having bronchitis and/ or bronchiolitis. It is usually viral in nature. Respiratory syncitial virus is the most common cause. Though other viruses like the flu virus, etc may be responsible too. Kids usually catch infections from other kids in daycare and also while visiting other homes. In your baby's case, there seems to be a component of low immunity. I also need to rule out concurrent allergies by doing the following tests. He may have lost weight due to recurrent infections. Thus some blood tests will be needed. The blood test can include complete blood count (CBC), immunoglobulin levels, hemoglobin, fasting blood glucose levels, liver function test (sr bilirubin, SGOT, SGPT), etc. A sweat test for cystic fibrosis can be performed. The doctor may also rule out pneumonia by getting a chest x-ray done. Sputum culture and rapid viral identification tests may be helpful in finding the germs. If the bronchitis/bronchiolitis is uncomplicated, then nothing much needs to be done and the condition resolves spontaneously within 21 days. During sickness we can give him supportive therapy like paracetamol syrup for fever, cetirizine syrup for runny nose, cough lozenges, humidifying the air, warn fluids to drink are the mainstay of therapy. Keep him in less congested daycares. Another step that may help is giving him pure water to drink. From the baby's history it seems that he has low immunity. By giving him pure water we will ensure that he does not get unnecessary infections. Purity of water is judged by tds or ppm written on the bottle. Lower the tds, more pure the water is. To help him gain weight, give him high calorie food like cheese, butter, cream in foods, soya protein, etc. Always give him solid food before milk. Take the help of a dietician. Hope it helps. Let me know if you have any doubts. Dr Vaishalee
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