A Look into Cold in Children


A cold is a viral upper respiratory infection that affects the nose, throat, sinuses, and trachea. There are more than two hundred viruses that can cause a cold, but about fifty percent of all colds result from rhinoviruses. Children and babies are more prone to colds than adults because their immune system is still learning to recognize and fight new germs. There is no cure for a cold, but your healthcare provider, Dr. Carrie Jones can manage your kid’s symptoms through medications. Colds are contagious. Your child can contract a cold by touching a surface or breathing moist air containing the cold virus.

What are the symptoms of colds in children?

Symptoms of common colds in kids include sneezing, fever, loss of appetite, increased drooling, swollen glands, cough, and irritability. Your kid may also have a runny nose which usually starts as clear and becomes later and can be gray, yellow, or green.

How do doctors diagnose colds in children?

Your doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms. The doctor can perform a physical exam to check for signs like swollen nostrils, a stuffy nose, and swollen neck lymph nodes. The doctor can also recommend a nasal swab test for your kid to check for cold viruses.

What are the treatments for colds in children?

There is no cure for a cold, but your doctor can use medications to relieve your kid’s symptoms and promote comfort during recovery. In most cases, colds go away without treatment within seven to ten days. Your doctor can prescribe antibiotics if your child’s cold causes a sinus or ear infection. Many over-the-counter drugs can treat colds, but consult your doctor before giving them to your kid because some are not safe for children. The medications that can alleviate cold symptoms include:

Pain relievers: Painkillers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help relieve headaches and fever.

Decongestants: Your doctor can recommend decongestants like phenylephrine to ease stuffiness.

Antihistamines: Certain antihistamines like diphenhydramine can help stop sneezing and runny nose.

Cough suppressants: Drugs like dextromethorphan and codeine can help minimize coughing. Doctors do not prescribe these medications for kids under five years.

Expectorants: These drugs help thin and loosen mucus.

What are cold treatments in babies?

Treatment for colds in babies may be different from in older children. Do not give your baby over-the-counter medications unless prescribed by your doctor. Ensure your baby gets plenty of fluids and rest. Since most kids cannot blow their nose until age four, use the following methods to manage your baby’s stuffy nose.  

Saline and suction

Over-the-counter saline can help loosen mucus in your baby’s nostrils. After putting saline, you can suction out the mucus a few minutes later with a rubber bulb or oral suction device. Saline and suction clear mucus in your baby’s nostrils, allowing them to breathe and suck comfortably.

Petroleum jelly

Dabbing petroleum jelly outside your baby’s nostrils can help ease irritation. Ensure you do not block the inside of the baby’s nostrils.

Children are more common in kids than adults. Colds in children often present with a runny nose, sneezing, fever, and coughing. Treatments may involve antibiotics and over-the-counter medications. Schedule an appointment at Argyle Pediatrics for a cold treatment to relieve your baby’s runny nose.

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