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Do mild coughing and sneezing without fever in an infant need attention?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Pradeep Kumar

Pediatrician, Cardiology

Practicing since :2006

Answered : 1911 Questions

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Posted on Thu, 10 Jan 2019 in Child Health
Question: Hi, my baby girl is 7 weeks old. Last few days she was coughing a bit (about 5-6 times a day) and was also sneezing (about 8-10 times a day). Today she has some runny nose. Not too much but we noticed while she was awake. We regularly suck her snot with aspirator.

Is it something we need to go to doctor to check?

Another thing is she was having eczema all over her face and head. Doctor gave mild steroid cream which we used for 3 days and redness has cleared. But the cradle cap (on her head) is still there. We think she tries to scratch face and head. We are applying paraffin based mild cream at the moment (no steroid).
What else can be done?

Her feeding (expressed breast milk in bottle), pooing and weeing seem normal at the moment. She does not have fever.

Thanks in advance.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Pradeep Kumar 1 hour later
Brief Answer:

Watch for breathing difficulty, low potency steroid works better.

Detailed Answer:

Hi!

I have gone through the query and do understand your concern.

I won't get worried for mild cough and sneezing if it is not associated with fever, baby is otherwise active, taking feeds well and there is no breathing difficulty.

You may put nasal saline drops to relieve the nasal blockade. Most of the time mild cough and sneezing improves within two to three days without any treatment.

Watch for symptoms of breathing difficulty like rapid breathing or chest retraction. If you notice that cough is increasing then giving drops containing bronchodilator like Levosalbutamol with mucolytic like Ambroxol will help.

Seborrhea capitis or cradle cap is sometimes difficult to treat. It responds well with mild topical steroid like Hydrocortisone or Desonide helps.

This local application of steroid does not causes much side effect but is very helpful in treating seborrhea. The skin lesion on face, behind ear, Upper shoulder and chest is very common with seborrhea.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any more questions.

Regards,

Dr. Pradeep Kumar
Pediatrician, Cardiology

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Pradeep Kumar 3 days later
Hi doctor, thanks for your detailed reply.

Since your reply the baby has not coughed or sneezed much but today she has.

Regarding breathing she takes fast breathing only if she had been active such as crying. Other then that breathing is normal.

Is this one off heavy fast breathing normal or should I be worried?

We are in the UK and here hardly anything we can buy over the counter for the baby. We will try to see a doctor for the prescription. But do you think cough and sneeze requires immediate treatment?

Regards.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Pradeep Kumar 41 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Observe for breathing difficulty or poor feeding.

Detailed Answer:

Hi!

Thanks for follow up.

As per your explanation I don't think that baby is having any breathing difficulty. If baby is having fast breathing or chest retraction while sleeping or when the baby is quite that is more suggestive.

I won't get overly worried for mild cough and sneezing if there is no fever, baby is active and feeding well.

In case of any abnormal symptoms contact a pediatrician immediately as small baby may deteriorate rapidly.

Hope my answer is helpful.

Regards,

Dr. Pradeep Kumar
Pediatrician, Cardiology
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Pradeep Kumar 2 days later
Dear Doctor,

We had taken our baby to general physician yesterday and he checked our baby well and said there is nothing to worry and mild cough and sneeze will eventually go away. He also confirmed that breathing is normal.

But, after coming home baby slept too much. Usually she wakes up on her own in about 3 hours and takes the feed of about 100ml (I express breast milk in bottle and she takes by bottle). But yesterday I had to wake her up at 4 hours and give her the feed. From yesterday till now in 24 hours she has taken about 100ml less than previous days. Usually she take about 620ml in 24 hours but yesterday and today in 24 hours she took 530ml. She was also not waking up on her own.

Again she does not have temperature or breathing problem, wee/poo normal.

Do you think she has taken less feed or one day's less feed is not suggestive of problem?

Is there any formula to calculate how much breast milk she should take in 24 hours? She is 7 weeks 4 days old with current weight 3.900 kgs. Birth by c-section at 38 weeks and her weight was 2.900 kg.

Today morning I needed to wake her up as she did not wake up on her own.

Looking forward to your reply.

Regards.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Pradeep Kumar 38 hours later
Brief Answer:

Variability is normal.

Detailed Answer:

Hi!

Sorry for delayed reply.

I won't get worried for little change in intake. Its good to hear that you are calculating the amount of feeds and weight for monitoring. But you should not get worried for small change in intake.

Variability in amount of intake, frequency of stool/urine, duration of sleep, crying etc are normal in this age.

If you are noticing any significant change like too less intake, excessive inconsolable crying for 1-2 hour or more, not passing urine even 4-5 times a day or too frequent/watery stool please consult your doctor.

Birth weight, current weight and weight gain all are normal. The amount of feed (around 500-600 ml per day) is also normal for this age.

Because of variability in mood the sleep duration may vary and you should not get worried for this.

I hope this helps.

Regards,

Dr. Pradeep Kumar
Pediatrician, Cardiology
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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