The Common Cold

How colds spread:
Viruses which cause colds can be spread directly or indirectly. For example, a cough or a sneeze can directly transfer a cold virus from one child to another. When someone is sick with a cold they may cough or sneeze into their hands, the virus is then on their hands and they can transmit the virus to others . Good hand washing is important prevent the spread of infection.

Signs and Symptoms of a cold:
Colds run a course of approximately 10 - 14 days
• Runny nose - nasal drainage may range from clear and watery to thick and colored (yellow/green). This color change is normal with a cold.
• Sneezing, watery eyes and nasal stuffiness
• Sore throat
• Cough- the cough is often worse at night and upon awakening.
• Fever- the fever is usually in the beginning and may last for 2-3 days.
• Irritability and decreased appetite

Treatment for the common cold:
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the common cold. The best you can do is make your child comfortable.
• Nasal saline - Nasal saline drops relief a stuffy nose and thin nasal discharge for all ages. Nasal saline may be used as often as necessary. For infants, using a rubber suction bulb with the nasal saline works best. Place a few drops of the nasal saline into each nostril followed by bulb suction.
• Put a cool mist humidifier (vaporizer) in your child's room - Be sure to clean and dry the humidifier each day to prevent bacterial or mold contamination.
• Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen (> 6 months of age) if your child is uncomfortable or has fever (temp > = 100.4)
• Plenty of fluids - Your child may prefer clear liquids rather than milk or formula.
• Plenty of rest

When to see the Pediatrician:
• Fever persists for longer than 3 days
• Nasal discharge and /or cough persists for longer than 10-14 days
• Excessive irritability or sleepiness
• Ear pain
• Any trouble breathing
• Lips or nails turn blue
• Any questions or concerns