Common Cold (Upper Respiratory Infection)
What is the Common Cold?
The common cold (also called an upper respiratory infection (URI)) is a viral infection that can affect your child’s nose, throat, ears and sinuses. The common cold (URI) is usually not serious and does not need special treatment. Healthy children usually get at least five to eight colds each year. Although URIs may occur year round, in the United States, most colds occur during the fall and winter. Antibiotics do not help fight viruses such as the ones that cause the common cold and taking antibiotics when you have a virus may do more harm than good. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment.
Does my child need an antibiotic for this condition? What is the recommended care?
There is no cure for viral illnesses such as the common cold. There is no medicine that will make the cold go away. Antibiotic medicine will not work on illnesses caused by a virus. The treatment for a common cold is to treat the symptoms depending on the age of the child without antibiotics.
What do the reports tell me? About 80% of children ages 3 months to 18 years in the Kentuckiana region with the common cold (URI) were not given an antibiotic for the common cold. You can use the quality reports on this site to compare how often doctors’ office treat the common cold (URI) the way it should be treated. The report shows how often patients did not get antibiotics for a common cold. Higher scores are better.
Where can I learn more?
Sore Throat (Pediatric Pharyngitis)
What is a Sore Throat?
Pharyngitis, or sore throat, is discomfort, pain, or scratchiness in the throat. It often makes it painful to swallow. Most sore throats are caused by a viral infection, such as the cold or flu. Bacteria that can cause pharyngitis include Group A streptococcus, which leads to strep throat in some cases.
What is recommended care for a Sore Throat?
For children ages 2-18, a strep test helps determine whether or not your child will benefit from antibiotics for a sore throat. When your child has a sore throat, the doctor may need to test for strep in order to make a good treatment decision. If the test is positive, then your child may have strep and would benefit from an antibiotic. If the test is negative (that is, there's no sign of strep), the sore throat is probably caused by a virus. Antibiotics should not be used because they have no effect on infections caused by viruses. Overuse of antibiotics has been directly linked to the prevalence of antibiotic resistance.
What do the reports tell me?
About 85% of children with a sore throat (pharyngitis) that were given an antibiotic in the Kentuckiana region had a strep test when they should. You can use the quality reports on this site to compare how often doctors’ offices treat a sore throat (Pediatric Pharyngitis) the way it should be treated. Higher scores are better.