The Common Cold

The most common illness occurring in children is the cold.

  1. Fever may be up or down around 102F for 2 to 3 days.
  2. Muscle aches and pains.
  3. Mild diarrhea.
  4. Mucus and watery discharge in the respiratory passages; this causes sneezing, runny nose, hoarseness, and coughing.

Management of the symptoms:

  1. Use a cold-air humidifier in your child’s room, as the fine moisture particles produced are soothing to the irritated respiratory passages.
  2. Give acetaminophen for the fever and pains (see medication sheet to determine dose).
  3. Normal saline nose drops, for the nasal stuffiness, are especially important in the infant, whose stopped-up nose prevents him from eating.
  4. Many cold medications are sold over the counter.  These medicines are not recommended for children under 6 years of age, unless specifically directed by the doctor.

Complications of a URI are usually accompanied by a return of fever and localizing pain in the ear, throat, or chest.  If these occur, or if the primary cold symptoms persist more than 10 days to 2 weeks, your child should be examined by a doctor.  Antibiotics do not help in the uncomplicated viral URI, but they are useful in curing the secondary bacterial infections.