Are Children's Symptom's Worse At Night When They're Sick?

cold symptoms worse at night sm

Why is it that your 5-year-old’s fever, congestion, and pain suddenly worsen at nightfall when the pediatrician’s office is closed?

Is it simply a matter of your weary child noticing their symptoms while lying quietly in bed? Maybe. But there are also real changes occurring late in the evening and during sleep, which may contribute to increased severity in their illness symptoms.


Emotions

At bedtime, your sick child’s anxiety may grow simply because of the dark or imagined monsters under the bed. Isolation and silence at nighttime may also contribute to how they perceive their discomfort.


Physical Changes

During sleep, a child’s symptoms may grow more severe. For example, with an ear infection, lying down is painful because of an increase in  fluid in the ear canal (which places pressure on inflamed ear tissue). This explains earaches (and crying!) flaring up in the middle of the night. Also, fever burns in the evening, and prevalent health conditions such as asthma worsen at night.

Asthma affects 20 million Americans and involves a narrowing and clogging of the bronchi tubes in the lungs. At night bronchi narrow in everyone, increasing resistance to air flow. Not a problem for kids without asthma, but in asthmatics such constriction at night may bring on an attack.


Chronobiology

Chronobiology relates to circadian rhythms and how internal timing mechanisms affect our biology. At night, two important internal hormones that relax the airway—cortisol (a steroid) and epinephrine (adrenaline)—taper off. In fact, since both hormones have an anti-asthma effect on the body, synthetic versions are administered to break severe asthma attacks.


Allergens in Bedroom

Unfortunately the air children breathe at night in their rooms may host common allergens including pet dander and dust mites which can set off a reaction.


Comfort Ideas for Nighttime

In addition to your pediatrician on speed dial, it may be possible to ease your child’s pain and illness at night by keeping these items close at hand:

• Compassion, patience and lullabies
• Rocking chair, ice pack and soft music
• Children’s antihistamine
• Children’s pain reliever
• Humidifier
• Ear drops
• Popsicles
• Thermometer
• Saline nose spray

-----------------------
Michele Ranard is a professional counselor/tutor and a freelancer.

Published: April 2013

8 Simple Secrets of Happy Families

8 Simple Secrets of Happy Families

Happiness varies depending on personal circumstances. But why are some families more resilient and happier despite the obstacles life throws their way? Here are simple secrets of happy families. 1. . . .

Read more

7 Tips to Overcome Fear of the Dark

7 Tips to Overcome Fear of the Dark

Avoid ideas like "monster spray" which only affirm in a child's mind that monsters are real and need to be "sprayed away."  - Berkley James, pediatric sleep consultant  Fear of the dark i . . .

Read more

Extended Bedwetting

Extended Bedwetting

Help for older kids who wet the bed Bedwetting among older children is more common than parents realize.   Over 7 million children, ages 5-17, in the U.S. are affected. Boys wet the bed 2/ . . .

Read more

Great Dates for Dads and Daughters

Great Dates for Dads and Daughters

A father spending one-on-one time with his daughter is an awesome way to make his girl feel special and a priceless opportunity to demonstrate how he would like her to be treated as she grows up. Ne . . .

Read more

Tips for Sending a Child with Food Allergies to Camp

Tips for Sending a Child with Food Allergies to Camp

Mention summer camp and kids get excited about activities, art, s’mores and friends. But for parents of kids with food allergies, the prospect of sending a child to day camp or overnight camp can . . .

Read more

Every Child with Special Needs is Entitled to A Free and Appropriate Education

Every Child with Special Needs is Entitled to A Free and Appropriate Education

Today, 1 in 50 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic and social groups and is four times more l . . .

Read more

Prepare Your Child to Go Back-to-school After Winter Break

Prepare Your Child to Go Back-to-school After Winter Break

For most students, January means a return to school after a winter vacation. Because there are few three-day weekends or other interruptions, the months between winter and spring breaks are the time . . .

Read more

5 Ways to Help Your Child Make the Team

5 Ways to Help Your Child Make the Team

As the school year starts up, our throats begin to tighten. Fall sports tryouts are underway, and our children are stressed. Chances are, you’re feeling just as anxious for tryouts as your kids.&n . . .

Read more

Expert Savings Tips for Back-to-school Shopping

Expert Savings Tips for Back-to-school Shopping

Summer’s almost over, and kids will find themselves back in classrooms in no time. For parents this means they must confront the dreaded back-to-school shopping list. Considering the average famil . . .

Read more

Contracts for Connected Families

Contracts for Connected Families

In general, families run better with good rules, so it’s not surprising that parents want to make rules about how kids use technology. Lots of organizations have offered well-intended versions of . . .

Read more

Protect Your Family Against Summer Stings, Bites and Bugs

Protect Your Family Against Summer Stings, Bites and Bugs

Toxicologists at UCSD Medical Center and the San Diego Division of the California Poison Control System recommend taking a few simple precautions to protect your family against summer stings, bites . . .

Read more

The Dos and Don'ts of Raising a Difficult Child

The Dos and Don'ts of Raising a Difficult Child

I strive to be a great parent. I have moments of glory and others of massive doubt and worry. Because I constantly revisit what is a good parent? And for every happy, proud moment there are a thousa . . .

Read more

Help Kids Grow Strawberries

Help Kids Grow Strawberries

Get kids growing in the garden by starting them off planting their own strawberries. You can let them plant and care for a whole patch, or just one or two plants, planted in a strawberry jar or gard . . .

Read more

Are Children's Symptom's Worse At Night When They're Sick?

Are Children's Symptom's Worse At Night When They're Sick?

Why is it that your 5-year-old’s fever, congestion, and pain suddenly worsen at nightfall when the pediatrician’s office is closed? Is it simply a matter of your weary child noticing their symp . . .

Read more

10 Tips to Make Moving Homes Easier With Children

10 Tips to Make Moving Homes Easier With Children

Moving is a hectic transition for anyone to make, but having young children makes it all the more difficult. Not only do you have to consider packing up all those toys, books, and clothes, you also . . .

Read more

How To Empower Kids by Giving Them

How To Empower Kids by Giving Them "Keys to Peace"

Parents and educators are always trying to spark student participation whether it’s in the classroom, in the local community, or throughout the world. When middle-school students were asked what t . . .

Read more

Bedwetting Qualms

Bedwetting Qualms

When it comes to the problem of children wetting the bed, the consolation for most parents is that most children usually outgrow bedwetting. Sadly, however, this is not always the case. Even when a . . .

Read more

The Battle: Dressing Your Kids

The Battle: Dressing Your Kids

If you’ve ever left the house with a child wearing a super hero cape or princess dress, or if you’ve ever noticed your daughter’s socks don’t match as you’re dropping her at school or real . . .

Read more

Keeping Kids Safe When Home Alone

Keeping Kids Safe When Home Alone

American Red Cross Tips Help Kids Stay Safe When Home Alone:Develop and practice a plan to ensure safety after school Many children spend time home alone after school until their parents get home fr . . .

Read more

Dogs Help Children Learn to Read

Dogs Help Children Learn to Read

It turns out dogs are not only good for our health, finding missing people, and helping people with disabilities live independent lives—they’re good for kids’ report cards, too! Canines have . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!