Rhinitis and rhinopharyngitis (common cold)

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    Rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal mucosa) and rhinopharyngitis (inflammation of the nasal and pharyngeal mucosa) are generally benign, self-limited and most often of viral origin. However, they may be an early sign of another infection (e.g. measles or influenza) or may be complicated by a bacterial infection (e.g. otitis media or sinusitis).

    Clinical features

    • Nasal discharge or obstruction, which may be accompanied by sore throat, fever, cough, lacrimation, and diarrhoea in infants. Purulent nasal discharge is not indicative of a secondary bacterial infection.
    • In children under 5 years, routinely check the tympanic membranes to look for an associated otitis media.

    Treatment

    • Antibiotherapy is not recommended: it does not promote recovery nor prevent complications.
    • Treatment is symptomatic:
      • Clear the nose with 0.9% sodium chloride a Citation a. For a child: place him on his back, head turned to the side, and instil 0.9% sodium chloride into each nostril. .
      • Fever, throat soreness: paracetamol PO for 2 to 3 days (Fever, Chapter 1).

     

    Footnotes
    • (a)For a child: place him on his back, head turned to the side, and instil 0.9% sodium chloride into each nostril.