What is a cold?

When your child has a cold, he often has a runny or stuffy nose. He may also have a fever, sore throat, cough, or hoarseness.

Viruses cause most colds. You can expect a healthy child to get about 6 colds a year.

How can I take care of my child?

  • Runny nose. If your child has a lot of clear discharge from the nose, it may not be a good idea to blow his nose. Sniffing and swallowing the mucus is probably better than blowing. Blowing the nose can make the infection go into the ears or sinuses. For babies, use a soft rubber suction bulb to take out the mucus.
  • Stuffy nose.Most stuffy noses are blocked by dry mucus. Try nosedrops of warm tap water or saline. They are better than any medicine you can buy.
    1. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water.
    2. Put 3 drops in each nostril. (For children less than 1 year old, use 1 drop.)
    3. Wait 1 minute.
    4. Then have the child blow or you can use suction bulb. Use a wet cotton swab to remove mucus that’s very sticky.
  • Aches and fever. Give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever over 102°F (39°C). Do not give aspirin.
  • Cough or sore throat. Use cough drops for children over 6 years old. Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey for children over 1 year old. If you do not have honey, you can use corn syrup.

How long does it last?

Usually the fever lasts less than 3 days, and all nose and throat symptoms are gone in a week. A cough may last 2 to 3 weeks. Watch for signs of bacterial infections such as an earache, sinus pain, yellow discharge from the ear canal, yellow drainage from the eyes, or fast breathing.