With the up and down of the temperatures and constant monsoon we have been experiencing, we are seeing a lot of children with common cold and flu symptoms here at Kids First Pediatrics in Raleigh NC. The last thing we want to worry about is our children catching the common cold. Most colds are caused by viruses meaning that antibiotics won’t cure them. If you’ve ever heard the saying “you just have to let a cold run it’s course,” then you understand. However, dealing with the symptoms of a cold can be miserable and watching your child endure it is even worse. So in this blog post we decided to share our provider’s advice on how to beat the common cold.
fluids. Fluids. FLUIDS.
One of the best things you can do for your child during a cold is to keep he/she hydrated. It is important that your child gets an adequate amount of water during a day and even more important when your child is not feeling his/her best. Your child should have enough fluid to make his/her urine a light yellow or clear color.
Rest. Sleep. Repeat
Your child’s body is using all of his/her extra energy to fight the cold virus. Help he/she rest and get extra sleep so that he/she can recover earlier. You can place a humidifier close to your child’s bed if it makes it easier for he/she to breathe when he/she is sleeping. If he/she has a fever, keep he/she at home and in bed. You can give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for fever or pain. Make sure to always follow the directions on the label about dosage according to your child’s height and weight.
Advice on Cold Medicines
Cold medicines can help your child cope with cold symptoms. Be careful when giving your child over the counter cold medicine and Tylenol at the same time. Many cold medicines contain acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. Read the label to make sure that your child is not getting more than the recommended dose.
For Your Child’s Stuffy Nose
For younger children that are having trouble breathing because of a stuffy nose, you can squirt a few saline drops in each nostril and use a soft rubber suction bulb to suck the mucus out of the child’s nose.
For older children that have a stuffy nose, have them blow their nose into a tissue.
The cold virus is spread through coughing, sneezing, and direct contact. Whether your child is sick or not, help he/she wash his/her hands regularly. Children should wash their hands for at least a minute each time. If it helps, have them sing their ABC’s or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while they are washing their hands. Keep your child away from smoke. Smoke increases breathing problems. Do not smoke or let anyone else smoke around your child or in your house.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think your child needs emergency care. For example, call if:
Your child seems very sick or is hard to wake up.
Your child has severe trouble breathing
If your child is using his/her belly muscles to breathe.
His/her chest is sinking in or the nostrils are flaring when your child struggles to breathe.
Call your doctor or seek immediate medical care if:
Your child has new or increased shortness of breath
Your child has new or higher fever
Your child seems to be getting sicker
Your child has coughing spells and can’t stop.
Your child’s cold has lasted more than 10 days.