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Runny nose, mild cough, sore throat, decreased appetite, occasionally low grade fever (<101.)
Children can have 7-10 colds in one season, particularly the first year they are in any sort of a daycare or school setting.
Colds are most contagious in the first two days – usually accompanied by a clear runny nose.
The change in color of the mucous to yellow or green after 5-7 days
(in the absence of fever or headache)
usually signifies the end of the cold and will be gone in 2-3 days. Green noses don’t automatically need antibiotics!
What will help?
For children under one use nasal saline, bulb syringe, elevating mattress (put book underneath) or allowing to sleep in car seat if they can breathe more easily this way. Use
nasal saline drops
, with suctioning if there is a lot of mucous, before feeding and sleeping. A warm bath will help bring break up the mucous.
For children 1-3, nasal saline washes may help (try
NeilMed sinus rinse
for children). A trial of
may be necessary to relieve congestion. (see medication dosage link) It is especially helpful at night if cough is interrupting sleep.
For older children (>4) with congeston try
with 1 teaspoon of sugar or honey to soothe sore throats and help break up congestion. For difficulty breathing through nose at night try
Breathe Right strips
for children. (Dr. Nikki loves them!) For persistent nighttime cough try humidifier, elevation and possibly Benadryl. Other cough syrups that we have found help include Delsym and ,
“Just a spoonful of sugar….”- sucking on a
teaspoon of honey
has been shown to decrease sore throat as much as cough medicines. Tylenol or motrin is appropriate for fever or sore throat, but doesn’t work for cough.
When to worry?
Any fever >100.4 in infants less than 6 months old – call for an appointment
Fever for greater than 3 days in any age child
Fussiness, not eating well, pulling on ears, breathing quickly or pulling in at ribs when breathing.
Green, yellow nasal discharge that is accompanied by fever, headache, sinus pressure or that persists more than 5-7 days.
Drainage out of ear canals.
A cold that persists or that is suddenly accompanied by a fever.