Most children suffer from at least six to eight cold episodes a year, and most recover spontaneously. There are over 200 cold viruses, but this condition is often caused by rhinoviruses. There is no vaccine against this, and antibiotics don’t work. Cold just have to run their course like most viral infections. Children recover from colds on their own and clear up within 1 or 2 weeks. Therefore, you must focus on easing your child’s symptoms until they recover. Here are some remedies to fasten the recovery:
- Homestay: Keep the child at home and avoid any regular activities such as school until the child feels better, at least fever-free for 24-hours.
- Bed rest: Rest may help your kid to get well soon. Keep the child warm and well-rested. Good bed rest may help the child’s body to boost immunity. Raise the child’s head with a pillow to relieve the nasal congestion.
- Plenty of fluids: As your child may dehydrate (likely to lose fluid) from fever, vomiting, or runny nose, make sure to offer them plenty of fluids such as water, apple juice, electrolyte solution, warm chicken soup, or herbal tea to prevent it. Drinking fluid will keep the child’s throat lubricated too. If your baby is breastfeeding, keep it up. Breast milk protects your child from infection.
- Humidifier: Running a cool-mist humidifier will keep the air in the child’s room moist, and it will lower the child’s nasal and chest congestion.
- Hot-water steam: Sit in the bathroom with the hot shower running so that your child breathes in the steam and clear the stuffy nose. If the child is too young, you may sit near the hot shower with your kid on your lap.
- Saline nasal spray: You can use a saline nasal spray to moisten the child’s nasal passages. Usually, they are safe for children. Carefully put a few drops of saline water in the baby’s nostril twice a day.
- Clear the nasal mucus: Keep your infant’s nose clear using a rubber-bulb syringe or aspirator. Teach the child aged above 5 years to blow their nose regularly.
- Gargling: Warm saltwater gargling may relieve sore throat pain and loosen mucus in children aged above 6 years.
- Petroleum jelly: Rubbing petroleum jelly over the child’s nose may prevent chapping. Never rub it on the inner side of the child’s nares.
- Fever management:
- Loosen the child’s clothing or use light blankets to avoid overheating.
- Sponging with lukewarm water may relieve the discomfort and lower the temperature. However, avoid if the child becomes too cold.
- Fever relievers:
- Over the counter (OTC) medicines such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) may relieve fever and discomfort. However, it does not cure the infection.
- OTC medicines should be avoided in small babies aged younger than 3 months. Consult your pediatrician about fever medications, dosage, and directions to use.
- Follow all the dosing instructions while giving any medicines to children.
- Never give Advil (ibuprofen) to an infant aged younger than 6 months. Your pediatrician may recommend it for your child aged older than 6 months. Enquire about proper dosage and direction of use.
- Never give Aspirin to a child aged younger than 18 years unless directed by the pediatrician. It may cause a serious fatal side effect called Reye’s syndrome (swelling in the liver and brain).
- Avoid these medicines if your child is dehydrated or vomiting continuously.
- Cough management:
- Avoid using OTC cough medicines for kids aged younger than 4 years. It can be dangerous.
- Consult your pediatrician and check the instructions before giving it to them.
- Sipping warm milk with a pinch of turmeric may help.
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How to prevent your child from catching a cold?
Following tips may help your child from catching a cold:
- Avoid direct contact of your child with people who have a cold/flu because the child can catch a cold through air-borne droplets.
- Teach children aged older than 5 years to wash their hands often before eating, after using the bathroom, or coughing/sneezing.
- Wash hands of the child aged younger than 5 years well and often.
- Teach the child to avoid touching the face constantly.
- Keep their toys and play area clean.
- Avoid smoking in front of your child.
- Teach children aged older than 5 years to sneeze or cough into a tissue or their elbow.
- Teach them not to share personal items with someone who has a cold/flu.
When should you see a pediatrician?
Your child should recover on their own but see a pediatrician if
- The child is very young (aged younger than 6 months).
- Symptoms last more than 14 days.
- Symptoms remain unresolved after over the counter (OTC) medication.
- The child has breathing problems.
- The child has a painful, sore throat.
- The child has difficulty swallowing.
- The child has a fever of more than 100.4°F that lasts for more than 72 hours.
- The child has a persistent, severe cough or is coughing up a lot of mucus.
- The child is vomiting more than once.
- There is a decrease in activity.
- The child has chest pain.
- The child has stomach pain.
- The child has ear pain.
- The child has facial pain.
- The child has a headache.
- The child has a stiff neck.
- The child has swollen neck glands.
- The child is not passing urine.
Medically Reviewed on 1/4/2021
WebMD. Treating Colds in Children. https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/treating-colds-in-children