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Pediatrics/Frequent Cold and Cough in 4 year old boy


"Respected Sir,
         My 4 year old grandson is often suffering from cold and cough.Initially his mother gives him some anti allergic medicines.The cold gets chocked and the child often suffers from fever.Can a safe ant allergic medicine  be prescribed and to be continued  and also how his immunity can be increased.
     With thanks"

Hi Mr. Kalyan,

Every child in 2-6 years of age group suffers from frequent cough/ cold. These children, especially in lower side of this age group can have 6-8 episodes of cough/ cold every year. The frequency of these episodes is even more during change of season and when the toddler starts going to day-care (creche)/ play school/ school, since there are a number of children (all in this vulnerable age-group) in a room that facilitates spread of infection. These episodes appear similar, but in fact there are more than 200 viruses that can cause similar symptoms. Hence, technically these infections are not "same" but by different viruses. Recovery can be fast with some viruses, while prolonged course (occasionally even upto 3 months) with others. The frequency of these episodes decreases somewhat at ~ 5-6 years of age (when the child has unfortunately already suffered from most of these viruses.

Medicines are not always needed, especially in milder cases. In more severe episodes, medicines are given to provide relief from symptoms but do not shorten the course of illness. Parents must know that most of these episodes of cough/ cold are viral infections and antibiotics have NO ROLE in viral infections. Antibiotics are prescribed only when bacterial infection is suspected.

Anti-allergics are also NOT safe for regular use, except in very very selective cases. That is why ant-allergic medicines are "Schedule H" drugs: To be taken strictly under medical supervision. Sadly, implementation of laws is so poor in our country...otherwise these medicines should not be available without a valid, current prescription. Your grandson should NOT be given ant-allergic everytime he has cold. Wait for self recovery in 5-7 days (Paracetamol can be given for fever/ bodyaches/ headache along with rest and plenty of fluids), and consult a pediatrician if not improving/ worsening. Self medication with anti-allergic should be strictly avoided. It leads to inactivity, dullness, behavioral issues in the long term. In short term they cause drowsiness and can cause drying of secretions inside lung and can occasionally cause collapse of a segment of lung because of blockage of airway with dried secretions.

Best wishes,
Dr. Puneet Kumar,
Kumar Child Clinic, Dwarka,
New Delhi, India.



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Dr. Puneet Kumar


I would be happy to answer general queries on prevention and treatment of ailments in newborn, infant, toddler, child or an adolescent. Needless to say, it will not be possible to answer any query requiring specific diagnosis of a particular subject.


I have worked in various capacities (medical officer, resident, senior resident, consultant) in public as well as private sector in Pediatrics and Neonatology. Today, I have over 15 years of experience in the field.

Currently, I am running my own clinic (Kumar Child Clinic) in Dwarka, New Delhi and am attached to Lifeline Hospital, Dwarka as consultant pediatrics and neonatology. I am also developing my clinic website into a comprehensive child health/ parenting website (

(a) Chapter "National Immunization Schedule" in Frontiers of Social Pediatrics, Jaypee Publishers: 2nd edition, 2016. (b) Article, "All about Pertussis vaccines" in special issue of Indian Journal of Practical Pediatrics, October 2015 (c) Three chapters (DTP vaccines, Pneumococcal vaccines and Poliovirus vaccines) in "Textbook of Pediatrics for Post-graduates" First edition: 2015. (c) Chapter: "Alternative delivery methods of vaccines" in IAP textbook of Vaccines, First edition, 2014 (published by IAP/ Jaypee Brothers) (d) Special Article: "50 years of Immunization in India: Progress and Future" in January 2013 issue of Indian Pediatrics (e) Four chapters in "FAQ: Book on Vaccines and Immunization Practices" First edition, 2011 AND 2nd edition, 2015 published by Jaypee Brothers. (f) Three articles in special issue of Journal of Pediatric Sciences on “Controversies and Challenges in Pediatric Vaccination Today" in Sept, 2010. Co-edited the series also. (f) Regular column, “How do I treat” in Pediascene ( (g) Review article, “Role of Anti-Poliovirus Agents in Polio eradication and beyond” in Polio Pulse, April, 2008. (h) Chapter on “Acute Infectious Diarrhea” in Textbook of Infectious Diseases in Children. (An IAP Publication), 2007. 2nd edition in 2011. (i) Book-Review (IAP Pediatric Drug Formulary, 2004) in Pediascene, March 2005 ( ) (j) Case-report on Osteopetrosis. Jharkhand Journal of Pediatrics, Dec-2002.

After MBBS, I have done DNB residency in Pediatrics.

Awards and Honors
Winner of IAP practising pediatrician's quiz in 2001.

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