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World's Best Advice for your Common Cold!

74. 5-year old boy in ER at midnight for head pain

Patients being seen in medical clinics for the common cold can be suffering a variety of symptoms, sometimes surprising ones.

common cold viruses can present in many ways

Dr. Bob Pollard (my husband) was awoken after midnight during his night shift in the Emergency Room recently.  A five-year-old boy had just signed in who was suffering from a pain in the side of his head.

The boy had been spending the night at his grandmother’s home. After midnight he woke up crying, holding the side of his head. He couldn’t say what the pain was exactly.

Grandparents called the parents, who came over to pick him up. His parents and grandparents speak Spanish. They could not figure out what exactly was hurting their son, toothache? Headache?

The boy couldn’t explain it. So the parents drove him into the Emergency Room.

The average cost of ER visit is $515. Plus a ruined nights’ sleep for five people –the two parents, two grandparents and the boy.

By the time Dr. Pollard saw the child, the pain had stopped. The doctor tested the boy’s teeth for pain. They were fine. He looked in the boy’s ear. It was normal. No head injury or trauma. The boy seemed perfectly fine at that point.

Diagnosis: “Eustacian Barotitis-media due to barotrauma” The boy probably had one of the a common cold virus, which gave him blockage in his ear canal. The unequal pressure on the eardrum caused him pain, similar to when you swim to the bottom of a swimming pool without popping your ears.

‘Then, most likely, when the boy yawned or blew his nose, such as we do to pop our ears going up or down in altitude,  the ear tubes popped back to normal and the pain was instantly gone.

A common cold can present in hundreds of different ways.  A cold virus can give symptoms of earache, sinus pressure, coughing, runny nose, sinus headache, wheezing, fever, all from the same type of virus. And the treatment for all is the same, warm steam.

Share your common cold advice with us!