There’s a variety of ways to treat your child’s cold


Jeffry Young Special to the Leader

The common cold is medically known as an upper respiratory tract infection. Despite the chesty cough that often sends us to the doctor, the lungs are not affected.

There are over 200 viruses that cause the common cold. Unfortunately, antibiotics have no effect on the common cold; you must fight the virus on your own.

While children average six to eight colds a year (double if in preschool or daycare), adults do not get as many colds. They’ve already been exposed to many viruses and have developed immunity.

December through April is cold and flu season, where viral illnesses are most common. A drippy nose usually lasts 7-10 days and a cough, 10-14 days. One child out of three will cough for up to three weeks, but the cough will actually sound worse as it gets better.

Colds do not usually wipe your child out; the cold symptoms often bother the parents more. Otherwise, kids act pretty normal except for the constant runny nose and cough.

Cold medicine for children 2 and under has not been made for years, and for older children, multi-symptom cold remedies are not very helpful.

The best thing to offer kids is water.

For children old enough, sucking on hard candy is a good idea. You don’t need cough drops.

Children older than 1 year can have throat soothing honey on a spoon.

Sipping warmed apple juice or lemonade helps.

Elevating the head of the bed or stacking up pillows and using Vicks VapoRub also helps.

Humidifiers may be helpful, but less so.

Children exposed to cigarette smoke will cough longer.

Children that have fever for more than four days in a row, refuse to drink, aren’t urinating at least twice a day, or who are inconsolable need to be seen by a doctor. If after 10 straight days, your child seems no better, they also should be seen by a doctor.