4 dangerous diseases that can easily be mistaken for the common cold

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These life-threatening viruses can mask themselves as the common cold because of its similar symptoms. Know how to spot the signs before it's too late!

So you notice your child’s been coughing and sneezing non-stop, and you kick into nurturing mode, as any parent would. You’ve tried certain remedies that have worked in the past, so you use these along with your knowledge, confident that your efforts won’t be in vain.

But what if your child doesn’t seem to be getting better? It’s important to pay close attention, as some symptoms of dangerous diseases can easily mimic that of the common cold or run-of-the mill flu virus.

Here’s some diseases to watch out for!

1. Whooping cough

The cause of whooping cough, or Pertussis, is a bacteria that manifests through symptoms resembling the common cold, like mild coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and fever.

However, as it progresses, you’ll notice the cough becomes dry, loud, and hacking. If it persists for weeks, despite intervention, it’s best to see your child’s doctor as soon as possible.

Though common in kids aged 7 and above, it’s been known to cause death in babies. Ask your pediatrician about the vaccine DPT, which protects against this condition. This is usually administered when a child is two to six months of age.

2. Respiratory Synctial Virus (RSV)

This lung infection causes fever, coughing, and wheezing. Like the common cold, RSV is transmitted through droplets. Though the death rate is low, it’s still dangerous to babies, especially those born prematurely. There is no known medication to fight RSV, so it’s best to be extra careful.

Wash hands frequently and cover up when coughing or sneezing. Disinfect areas of your home you fear have come into contact with those with the flu or common cold. The virus that causes this condition tends to remain on surfaces for up to 8 hours, making it easier to unknowingly be infected by it.

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3. Pneumonia

When coupled with influenza, pneumonia can cause coughing, sneezing, severe muscle aches, and fever. It can be especially dangerous to young children.

It’s one of the easiest viruses to mistake for the common cold. In fact, your child could have pneumonia and you wouldn’t even know it. So it’s best to pay close attention to the subtle signs for early prevention. This includes: coughing, fever, chills, persistent dry cough, tiredness, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath.

Pneumonia still ranks as one of the top causes of death for babies worldwide. The annual flu vaccine can greatly decrease the number of deaths due to pneumonia. Be sure to consult your child’s pediatrician about it.

4. Bronchitis

Because those with bronchitis have runny nose and fever, it may be difficult to diagnose. But remember to watch out for green or yellow phlegm, as this may confirm that your child has bronchitis. Make sure to teach kids to spit out mucus, in order for you to check; most kids swallow phlegm on impulse after coughing.

Of course, it’s still best to consult your doctor, who will usually check for soreness and congestion to further confirm the condition.

Bronchitis itself is not contagious, take note, but the infections that can cause it are. These infections, such as the cold or viral infection, can be prevented through proper nutrition, frequent hand washing, getting adequate sleep, and avoiding contact with those who are ill.

Don’t hesitate to consult your pediatrician, especially if your child is experiencing something more serious than the common cold.

The best way to fight for your child’s health is to be one step ahead of any possible disease at all times!

sources: PBS.org, ABC News, Healthy Children, Everyday Health, Kid’s Health

READ: The horrifying moment when a cold turns out to be a deadly virus