Care for the Common Cold

by Vicki Dihle, certified physician assistant

Colds are the most frequent human illnesses — hence the name "common cold." During the first two years of life, most children will develop at least eight to 10 of these viral upper-respiratory infections.

In most cases, a cold requires no treatment. Once symptoms occur, such as a fever, a runny nose, a sore throat, coughing or sneezing, a cold often peaks in two to three days and resolves in 10 to 14.

The most practical way to prevent colds is to minimize your child's exposure to public settings, help her avoid close contact with others who have symptoms and frequently wash your hands as well as your baby's.

When a cold develops, do not use over-the-counter cold medications without the approval of your pediatrician or family doctor. Many of these products have not been proven to be effective and often contain more than one drug that can be harmful to babies.

To alleviate your child's symptoms, provide adequate fluids, suction nasal passageways, use nasal saline drops, prop your baby in an upright position and use a cold-mist humidifier.

If your baby's cold symptoms worsen or do not follow the typical course, consult your doctor.


This article appeared in the December 2012 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2012 by Vicki Dihle. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.

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