Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Common Cold in Children Wheezing

Some upper respiratory infections in children may cause mild wheezing. This is particularly common in children who suffer from asthma. A URI can make asthma more difficult to control.

Home care for mild wheezing includes:

  • Avoid exposure to smoke.
  • Avoid cough medicine.
  • Avoid sedative medications.
  • Avoid substances that trigger wheezing.
  • Drink plenty of liquids to remain hydrated.
  • Place a vaporizer or nebulizer in the bedroom at night.

Home care for children who take medication for wheezing includes:
  • Follow asthma home care instructions.
  • Learn to use prescribed inhalers correctly.
  • Use short-acting inhalers every 20 minutes, or as directed by your doctor.
  • Long-acting medications must be used regularly.
  • Learn to use a peak flow meter.
  • Know the peak flow danger zones.
  • Develop a strategy for using your inhaler based on your PEFR reading
  • Stay calm during a wheezing attack.

Peak Flow Zones:
  • Green Zone:
    • A PEFR reading that is 80-100% of personal best represents good control
  • Yellow Zone:
    • A PEFR reading that is 50-80% of personal best represents a moderate attack
  • Red Zone:
    • A PEFR reading that is less than 50% of personal best represents a severe attack and may identify the need for treatment in an emergency department.

Continue to Common Cold in Children Prevention

Last Updated: Jan 10, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Common Cold in Children References
  1. Autret-Leca E, Giraudeau B, Ployet MJ, Jonville-Bera AP. Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid is ineffective at preventing otitis media in children with presumed viral upper respiratory infection: a randomized, double-blind equivalence, placebo-controlled trial. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2002 Dec;54(6):652-6. [12492614]
  2. Butler CC, Hood K, Kinnersley P, Robling M, Prout H, Houston H. Predicting the clinical course of suspected acute viral upper respiratory tract infection in children. Fam Pract. 2005 Feb;22(1):92-5. [15640294]
  3. Fahey T, Stocks N, Thomas T. Systematic review of the treatment of upper respiratory tract infection. Arch Dis Child. 1998 Sep;79(3):225-30. [9875017]
  4. Lam TP, Lam KF. Why do family doctors prescribe antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infection? Int J Clin Pract. 2003 Apr;57(3):167-9. [12723716]
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