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Is It a Cold, Sinus Infection or Allergies?

by | Mar 20, 2024

Sinus infections, common colds and seasonal allergies in kids: a trifecta that all have similar symptoms. So, which one does your kid have? KidsStreet Urgent Care has all the details on distinguishing a common cold in kids from sinus infections and allergies! 

Your Comprehensive Guide to the Common Cold in Kids

Common colds are never fun to deal with, especially for our little ones. We’ve got all the tips and tricks to help you recognize and treat when your kid has a cold! 

Symptoms of the Common Cold 

Different cold viruses circulate every year, and they all have similar symptoms like runny nose, headaches, and more. You can tell that your kiddo has a run-of-the-mill cold if they have the following symptoms:

  • Symptoms only last up to 5 days.
  • Mucus is thick and clear and may vary in color as they get better. 
  • Symptoms are not as bad during the day but flare up more at night. 
  • The child has low-grade fevers. 

How To Treat The Common Cold

Antibiotics don’t treat the common cold since viruses cause it. Instead, at-home treatment methods are most effective! Try these methods to treat your child’s cold symptoms:

  • Over-the-counter fever reducers like children’s ibuprofen
  • Using nasal sprays to ease congestion. 
  • Ensure they get plenty of rest and drink fluids. 
  • Over-the-counter chest and nasal decongestants

Having trouble treating your child’s cold? KidsStreet is here to help kids and parents alike! We treat common colds in our urgent care services for kids. 

The Scoop on Sinus Infections in Kids

Worried your child has a sinus infection? Have no fear, KidsStreet has the scoop on all things sinus infections. 

What Is A Sinus Infection?

A cold or allergies can cause sinusitis in children. When your child has sinusitis, or a sinus infection, their sinuses and nasal passages swell. This makes it hard for your little one to breathe through their nose.

Since colds can cause sinus infections, your child can have both at once, but it’s nothing to worry about.

Symptoms of Sinus Infections

Sinus infections cause congestion in the nose and sinuses. But other than the nasal congestion symptoms, how can you tell if your child has one? Look out for these distinct symptoms if you think your child has a sinus infection: 

  • Bright yellow mucus
  • Sinus headaches (pain originates behind the face and eyes)
  • Swelling of the face around the sinuses
  • Bad breath for an extended time period
  • Symptoms last for more than five days 

Treating Sinus Infections in Kids

Sinus infections usually clear up with at-home treatment like nasal sprays and over-the-counter decongestants. 

For bacterial or chronic sinus infections (which last up to 12 weeks), your child’s provider may prescribe antibiotics.

All About Seasonal Allergies in Kids 

Seasonal allergies and hay fever can put a damper on your kids’ spring, summer and fall fun. KidsStreet has the specifics on seasonal allergies in kids!

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are the immune system’s reaction to foreign substances. Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever, happen when the immune system reacts to things in the air like pollen. Seasonal allergies are most prevalent during the spring, summer, and fall when pollen counts are high. Things like grass,  mold and dust mites can prompt allergy flare-ups too.

Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies in Kids

Like colds and sinus infections, allergies come with a host of symptoms like:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • chest and nasal congestion
  • itchy skin and eyes
  • yellow or green mucus

Look for these tell-tale signs to determine if your kiddo is battling seasonal allergies:

  • Symptoms flare up around certain times of the year. 
  • Your child experiences the symptoms while outside. 
  • Their symptoms last until the change of the season. 
  • Your child has routine ear and sinus infections. 

Treating Allergies in Kids

You can treat your little one’s mild seasonal allergies with nasal sprays, children’s antihistamines and other over-the-counter medication. The sooner you begin these treatments, the faster your child will feel better. 

You can also reduce the effects of your child’s allergies by steering clear of allergens during peak  seasons. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recommends the following: 

  • Keep kids indoors when pollen levels are high.
  • Make sure your kids wash their hands when they come inside.
  • Keep windows closed and use your air conditioner to help clean the air.

Turn To KidsStreet Urgent Care

Are your kids stuffy or sneezy? Let KidsStreet Urgent Care help! We can help you distinguish between common colds, allergies and sinus infections at our kid-focused clinic. 

To visit the clinic, register online. You and your child will be able to wait from home or in your vehicle until we are ready to see you. 

KidsStreet loves walk-ins! Walk-ins may experience longer in-clinic wait times compared to those who register online. Walk-ins join the same queue as those who register.

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