You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or your child's doctor. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms your child is experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to an upper respiratory infection, and when they started.
- Write down key personal information, such as if your child was born prematurely or if he or she has a heart or lung problem.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor
Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my child's symptoms? Are there other possible causes?
- Does my child need any tests?
- How long do symptoms usually last?
- Is my child's infection contagious?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- Does my child need medication? If so, is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- What can I do to make my child feel better?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
Don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment anytime that you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Be ready to answer questions your doctor may ask:
- When did your child first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your child's symptoms been off and on or continuous?
- How severe are your child's symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your child's symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your child's symptoms?
What you can do in the meantime
If your child has a fever and is older than 3 months, you can give him or her acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Children's Advil, Children's Motrin).
Never give a child under age 2 over-the-counter cough and cold products without checking with your child's doctor.
It's also important to have your child drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.