Common Cold

Colds are caused by viruses. They spread when people breathe, sneeze or cough on other people. Colds last about one week. Colds cannot be treated with antibiotics.

There are several signs that a child may have a cold:
  • a stuffy, runny nose
  • cough
  • fussiness
  • fever
  • isn’t hungry

To make your child more comfortable, you can:

  1. Give him plenty of liquids to drink (juice, Kool-Aid®, formula or milk)
  2. Put two drops of normal saline (salt water) in each side of his nose. You can buy “saline nasal spray” at the drug store without a prescription.
  3. Clear your infant’s nose by using a bulb syringe to gently remove drainage, especially before he eats or goes to sleep. (Most drug stores sell bulb syringes.) Do not blow into the nose.
  4. Use a cool mist vaporizer to help your child breathe. Keep the vaporizer out of reach. Empty the vaporizer each morning, and put fresh water in every day. Clean the vaporizer once a week (when you are using it) and before you put it away. The best way to clean a vaporizer is to run ½ strength vinegar water through it for two hours. Rinse with clear water.
  5. Call your child’s doctor for signs of infections:
    • fever 102° F (38.9° C) that lasts more than two days
    • earache
    • sore throat
    • trouble swallowing
    • vomiting
    • trouble breathing
  6. No smoking in your home or around your child.
  7. Encourage all family members to wash their hands frequently.

If your child has any signs of infection or other symptoms that worry you, call your child’s doctor.