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Common Baby and Childhood Illnesses and Ailments- Respiratory

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Sneezing Baby



The chart below summarizes common childhood allergies and infections that relate to sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.




Note: This chart is only a guide and should not replace your doctor's advice.

What Are The Signs and Symptoms? Is It Contagious?

Symptoms may include red, itchy, or watery eyes; stuffy or runny nose; sneezing. Can also present with wheezing, difficulty breathing, hives, rashes, stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting. No


Requires immediate medical attention if severe
Coughing; chest tightness; shortness of breath; wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest congestion.



Bacterial Sinus Infection
Prolonged runny nose with discoloration of nasal secretion and presence of cough occurring on day 10-14. Fever.
Different from a cold because fever is higher and lasts longer. Plus nasal secretions occur later and last longer.
Yes; until fever is gone.

Bronchiolitis Mild cold symptoms that progresses to a pronounced cough; fast, labored breathing; and wheezing. Yes; very contagious and can be for up to 3 weeks.
Cold Congestion; runny or stuffy nose; sneezing; cough; fever; difficulty breathing if congestion is severe.

Different from a sinus infection because fever is typically not over 105°F and lasts for only about 3 days. Nasal secretions only last for several days.
Yes; until fever is gone.

Croup Mild cold symptoms that progress to a deep cough that sounds like a bark. May have high fever up to 104° F. Breathing is noisy, labored, high-pitched on inhalation, with possible wheezing on exhaling. Yes; until after fever is gone.


Cystic Fibrosis
Chronic cough; frequent colds or bouts of sinusitis; may cough up yellow or green phlegm; good appetite but growing slowly or not gaining weight; heavy, greasy, foul-smelling stools; salty-tasting skin. No-this is an inherited disease.

Environmental Allergies

Requires immediate medical attention if severe
Persistent cold-like symptoms; congestion; runny nose (mucus is clear and thin); sneezing; red, itchy, watery eyes; dry cough; breathing difficulties, itchy red skin rash.


Requires immediate medical attention
Severe sore throat; fever; drooling; difficulty breathing; chills; difficulty swallowing.

Depends on culprit.


Severe cold symptoms, dry cough, stuffy/runny nose, fatigue. Possibly fever over 103° F, shortness of breath, wheezing, malaise, loss of appetite, vomiting. Onset is usually abrupt.

Yes; contagious from 2 days before symptoms appear and until approximately 1-2 weeks after symptoms have disappeared
(Whooping Cough)
Common cold symptoms. Dry, intermittent cough that progress to coughing spells that can cause choking and color changes in baby. Yes-very; until up to 2 weeks after cough begins.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Cold symptoms (fever, runny nose); persistent cough; wheezing; rapid breathing; gasping; apnea; bluish/purplish discoloration of lips and/or skin. Common between October and April. Premature babies are at higher risk. Hospitalization may be required. Yes-very; until after 8 days but can be up to 4 weeks.

Bacterial and Viral
Swollen, red, tender tonsils sometimes flecked with white spots. Sore throat; swollen glands; difficulty swallowing; fever; chills; ear pain; cold symptoms. Yes; can be contagious up to several weeks depending on culprit.



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