A common cold happens when your child gets a virus that makes her sick. The virus causes an infection in the upper respiratory tract. This means it can affect your child’s nose, throat and ears.
Symptoms of a Cold
A cold gets into your child’s body through her mouth, nose or eyes. Symptoms usually start two or three days after your child comes into contact with the cold virus. They may include:
- runny or stuffy nose (your child’s mucus will probably change color and become thicker as the cold runs its course)
- watery eyes
- low fever (up to 102°F in infants and young children)
- itchy or sore throat
- feeling tired
- minor body aches
Cold symptoms usually only last about a week, but they can last from two to 14 days.
Treating a Cold
There is no cure for colds because they are caused by viruses. Antibiotics won’t work to treat colds because these medicines treat bacteria, and not viruses. You can give your child acetaminophen and ibuprofen to help reduce her fever. But, don’t give your child aspirin. Aspirin can put her at risk for developing a serious condition called Reye’s syndrome. Reye’s syndrome is a rare, but life-threatening condition that affects the body’s organs.
To help your child’s cold, give her lots of fluids to drink, encourage her to rest and use a cool-mist humidifier to keep the air moist, and relieve congestion and coughing.