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Visiting SickKids

Common cold

If your child has a cold or respiratory tract (ear, nose, mouth, throat or chest) infection the risk of reacting badly to anesthesia is higher than if your child is in perfect health. A very mild cold increases the risk only a small amount. The worse the cold, the higher the risk of your child having trouble breathing during and after anesthesia. A serious chest infection increases this risk even more.

If your child has a bad cold, their procedure may have to be cancelled until they are healthier. We examine the risks against many factors. The procedure will often be done if your child has a mild cold if you are comfortable with the risks.

The procedure may need to be rescheduled if your child:

A boy looking worried holding a teddy bear
  • Is feverish
  • Is producing lots of phlegm
  • Has a wet, productive cough
  • Has abnormal breathing sounds when we listen to their chest
  • Is wheezing or has asthma like symptoms with the cold
  • Otherwise appears unwell (not their usual playful manner)

Monitor your child’s health before the operation

If your child gets sick in the WEEKS before the scheduled procedure at SickKids, you should see your paediatrician or family doctor.  Your paediatrician or family doctor may prescribe medicine that will improve your child’s condition in time for the anesthetic.

If your child remains sick or gets sick in the DAYS before the procedure and has one or more of the symptoms above, they will probably not be able to have anesthesia

Please call your surgeon or clinic to rebook the procedure as soon as you can so that the time slot can be used for another child.