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Happy Mother And Child Daughter Water In Domestic Garden
Happy Mother And Child Daughter Water In Domestic Garden

Cold and Flu

Common Colds in Children - and how to manage them

A cold is a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It is very common and usually clears up on its own within a week or two.

The main symptoms of a cold include:

  • a sore throat 
  • a blocked or runny nose
  • sneezing
  • a cough
  • headache

More severe symptoms, including a high temperature (fever) and aching muscles can also occur, although these tend to be associated more with the flu.

Tips to manage colds

When your child is displaying symptoms of a cold, preventing the spread of germs and helping your child feel better are your top priorities.

Here are four things that may help ease the symptoms:

  • Inhaling steam from a shower, or using a humidifier, may help relieve nasal congestion
  • Saline nasal drops or a nasal spray (followed by bulb suction for infants) may also ease breathing
  • Make sure the child drinks plenty of fluids, and gets enough rest
  • Try over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve fever
  • Give them warm liquids such as chicken soup – these may temporarily help ease congestion

It is important to note that cough and cold medicines and certain flu treatments should not be given to babies and young children under the age of 5 years. Speak to your doctor, and follow the instructions that come with the medicine.

When to call the doctor

Seek medical advice if your child:

  • Complains of an intense headache or earache
  • Has difficulty breathing
  • Has a persistent cough
  • Coughs up rusty coloured or blood-stained phlegm Has a temperature higher than 38.5⁰C

In most cases, with a little tender loving care and plenty of tissues, the common cold in children will resolve on its own.

Related Articles

What's the difference between colds and the flu?

Both cold and flu are caused by viruses. The most common virus causing a cold is the rhinovirus, while influenza viruses cause the flu. Flu viruses can vary between seasons and geographical areas. While colds and the flu share some overlapping symptoms, there are some differences too.

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