A Cranky Toddler With a Fever and a Runny Nose

Fever, runny nose, and crankiness are three symptoms that frequently plague toddlers, and many times these symptoms are caused by mild ailments such as the common cold or teething. While these conditions are typically to blame, fever, crankiness and runny nose may also signal a more serious infection that will require medical attention.

A runny nose may happen often to your toddler. Credit: DGLimages/iStock/Getty Images


Teething is a common cause of crankiness, fever and runny nose in babies and toddlers. Teething typically begins sometime during 3 and 7 months of age, and usually concludes by your toddler's 2nd birthday. Inflammation of the gums during teething can cause a low-grade fever, while a runny nose and other cold-like symptoms may also be present. The whole process of teething is bound to make your little one feel very uncomfortable and downright cranky.

Common Cold

Another common ailment that plagues toddlers is the common cold. A cold is caused by a viral infection, and the most common symptoms are a runny nose, irritability and a low-grade fever. When your toddler is suffering from a cold, their bodies are producing greater amounts of mucus, which contributes to a runny nose. The fever arises from the body's attempt to kill the infection. The crankiness, of course, comes from the bodily discomfort that is normally associated with the common cold. If you think a cold may be the cause of your child's symptoms, be sure to contact your child's pediatrician for further medical advice.

The Flu

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between a cold and the flu. One common difference between the two is that the flu is usually associated with a higher fever when compared to a cold. In addition to an increased temperature, a child with the flu may also be lethargic or have bouts of diarrhea or vomiting. If you suspect your child may be suffering from the flu, contact your pediatrician right away to discuss the necessary treatment plan for your child.

Other Causes

While teething, a cold or the flu are perhaps the most common causes of a runny nose, fever and crankiness in toddlers, there are a few other conditions that may exhibit the same symptoms. For example, an ear infection will produce similar symptoms, as will pneumonia, croup and other viral or bacterial infections. Due to the fact that these symptoms are often a common denominator in many illnesses, it is important to visit your child's pediatrician to determine the cause of your child's symptoms and to ensure that he is being treated appropriately.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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