It’s that time of the year again – cold and flu season! While most adults get the occasional cold, kids can get 8 or more per year. So you’re not alone if you feel like your child is sick all of the time!
A cold is typically caused by rhinoviruses which can get into your nose and throat and cause a reaction in your immune system. This reaction leads to a sore throat, headache and mucous. While dry air can lower resistance to an infection making it more likely you will catch a virus, colds are not caused by going outside without a jacket when it’s chilly or sleeping with wet hair! The best way to prevent a cold is with good hand hygiene, so lots of hand washing. And try to encourage your kids to cough and sneeze into a tissue or their elbow instead of their hands.
Colds usually start with a tickle in the throat, runny nose or sneezing. Kids can also feel tired, have a sore throat, cough, headache, mild fever and just feel achy. Many kids will have decreased appetite (which is ok as long as they are drinking and well hydrated.) They may even have thick green or yellow mucous associated with the virus.
The best treatment for colds is supportive care. You can run a hot shower to create a steam-filled bathroom where your child can sit to help clear stuffiness, dab petroleum jelly under their nose to soothe rawness and put the occasional saline drops in the nostrils to decrease nasal congestion. If your child is over than 6 months, I have also found a nighttime dose of ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) can help to decrease inflammation and indirectly help with their cough, so they get a better night sleep.
Make sure to see your doctor if your child is getting worse or has a bad cough, difficulty breathing, is not able to keep liquids down, has a fever (especially if it last greater than 48 hours), chest or stomach pain, irritability or unusual tiredness or lethargy.
Riverside Pediatrics has a walk-in urgent care 365 days a year, so we are here when you need us!

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