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Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
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Colds - Brief Version

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 six colds a year.

How can I take care of my child?

  • Watch for other infections. Your child could also have an earache, sinus pain, or yellow discharge from the eyes. Your child could also have a hard time breathing.
  • 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.

    3. Wait 1 minute.

    4. Then have the child blow or you can use suction bulb.
  • Aches and fever. Give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen. No aspirin.
  • Cough or sore throat. Use cough drops for children over 4 years old and 1/2 teaspoon corn syrup as needed for younger children.

Call your child's doctor right away if:

  • Your child has a hard time breathing AND is no better after you clear the nose.
  • Your child starts acting very sick.

Call your child's doctor during office hours if:

  • The fever lasts more than 3 days.
  • The runny nose lasts more than 10 days.
  • The eyes get yellow discharge.
  • You think your child may have an earache or sinus pain.
  • You have other questions or concerns.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems