Sniffles or Seriously Sick? A Guide to Toddler Illnesses (page 2)

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Updated on Feb 24, 2012

Respiratory Issues

From asthma to bronchitis, pertussis and even respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), your child's young lungs can take a beating during cold and flu season. Any infection or virus in the lungs can produce serious coughing and even trouble breathing, making it seriously dangerous for your toddler. If your toddler's having trouble breathing or is producing dry, barking coughs and gasping, make an appointment to see your pediatrician that day.

Any time an illness messes with your toddler's ability to breathe, it's a serious issue. Even if your doctor can't treat the issue in the office, she might send you home with a nebulizer for continual treatments, give you some tips to deal with the illness at home or even suggest a hospital stay for treatment.

You'll know it's time to call in the pros when your toddler is lethargic, dehydrated, showing signs of an infection or having breathing issues. However, you shouldn't keep your toddler in a total bubble. "Remember that getting sick is not always a bad thing. It is one of the ways our immune system gets stronger. We get sick, we get well on our own and the next time we are exposed to the same bug, the body recognizes it and we don't get sick." As long as you know what to look for, you can make sure that a case of the sniffles isn't something more serious.

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