The common cold is the most frequent disease encountered in a pediatric office. It is caused by a multitude of so called respiratory viruses with different structures and distinct genetic footprints. Coming in contact with a cold virus develops an immunity that my last several years. However, a child’s immune system is naïve and for this reason many encounters with new viruses produce illness, which can range in severity from barely noticeable to serious. Symptoms of the common cold are very non-specific. They include fever of various degree, runny nose, sneezing and coughing.
The role of a pediatrician is to rule out all other conditions that can include those symptoms, such as ear infection, pneumonia and streptococcal pharyngitis, all requiring treatment with antibiotics.
If your child is seriously ill and requires hospitalizations, Dr. Sergey Shushunov will personally supervise every admission and every day of stay at the hospital. He conducts daily rounds in Pediatric Ward, Pediatric Intensive Care and Neonatal Intensive Care Units. He will update you as often as necessary on any changes and progress in your child condition (Read more…)
Treating the common cold with antibiotics is not only useless, but also harmful. Absolutely all of us, including babies, children and adults carry bacteria in the airways, which under certain conditions may cause pneumonia, ear infection, meningitis and even sepsis. The indiscriminate use of antibiotics makes those bacteria resistant to them and when antibiotic resistant bacteria invades the body, treating it becomes a challenge.
There are many medications frequently used in Vietnam to treat common cold, mostly different cough syrups, A-chymotrypsin and acetylcysteine. Left untreated, common cold usually lasts about seven days and when treated with any of the above medications, it will last for about one week. In other words, instead of helping children with cold, these drugs help pharmaceutical company’s bottom lines.
Cough syrups have been studied in many clinical trials and each time the conclusion has been the same: they are useless.
A-chymotrypsin is an enzyme, or a substance, which triggers a complex chemical reaction inside of cells. When tested in a laboratory dish, chymotrypsin can destroy proteins, including those responsible for inflammation. A-Chymotrypsin (alpha-choay®) like all enzymes is also a protein; therefore, when taken orally it gets digested in the stomach, effectively acting as a dietary supplement with very little nutritional value.
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Acetylcysteine is known for breaking down chemical bonds of mucus molecules. When inhaled as an aerosol it makes bronchial mucus less viscous and easier to cough up. However, when ingested in oral form (acemuc®) it has absolutely no effect on mucus of the respiratory tract and thins out only mucus inside of the gut, which is probably one of the reasons it causes diarrhea.
So, what can be done to treat common cold? Not much, really. The treatment is supportive only.
Fever medicine such as paracetamol (tylenol®, efferelgan®), or ibuprofen can be given for body temperature higher than 38.5-39.0 Degree C. Avoid menthol forehead patches favored in many Asian countries. They can cause paradoxical effect and elevate body temperature.
Make sure your child gets plenty of fluid to keep up with increased perspiration.
Finally, remember that babies and toddlers can’t blow their noses. Learn to clean them by irrigation with saline solution.
And remember that respiratory virus acts like a plow in the filed, destroying top layer of cells of the respiratory tract, making it easier for bacteria to grow.