The Common Cold

 

This is an infection that mostly affects the nose and throat, and is caused by one of many different viruses.

A typical cold will get better within 2 weeks.

Children under six years of age are most often infected, but children under 3 months need to be monitored very carefully when they have a cold.

 Nasal congestion and a runny nose are the main signs of a cold. Other symptoms that may occur include:

–Fever

–Sneezing

–Coughing

–Loss of appetite and / or inability to nurse or drink a bottle.

 Things you can do to make your child more comfortable are:

–Give ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever and comfort

–Use a cool mist humidifier in the child's bedroom.

-Use normal saline nose drops to relieve nasal stuffiness. Only if essential, you may use a bulb suction in the nose of infants who are having trouble breathing because of congestion.

When to call your doctor:

In children under 3 months call your doctor in the first few days of a cold. If your young baby has a fever greater than 100.4F your infant should be seen at the doctor's office.

You should make an appointment for your child , regardless of age,  if any of the following occur during or shortly after the cold:

-a persistent cough or trouble breathing.

–Ear pain or a severe sore throat

–Thick green nasal mucus for a few days

–Fever that is getting higher each day for more than 2 days.

While antibiotics do not help in treating the uncomplicated cold they are useful in curing secondary bacterial infections.

Over-the-counter cold medications are not recommended for children under 6 years old unless specifically directed by the doctor.

The best defense against a common cold is

–Prevention: Keep your child away from anyone who is obviously sick.

–Good hygiene: Wash your hands thoroughly before handling and feeding your child, and clean toys and pacifiers often.