Is your child sneezing, coughing, and complaining about a sore throat? There’s not a parent on the planet who hasn’t been there. Find out how to keep those cold symptoms in check and prevent your kid from getting sick the next time.
What Is a Cold?
More than 200 different viruses can cause this infection, but the rhinovirus is the most common culprit. Antibiotics, which fight bacteria, won’t treat your child’s cold because a cold is a viral illness. Viral illness cannot be treated with antibiotics.
Except in newborns or in immuno-compromised children, colds in healthy children aren’t dangerous. They usually go away in 4 to 10 days without treatment.
What to Expect
When your child gets a cold, it starts when they have a general feeling of not being well, often followed by a sore throat, runny nose or cough.
At the beginning, the sore throat is due to a buildup of mucus. Later, your child may get a postnasal drip — when the mucus runs down the back of their nose to the throat.
As your child’s cold gets worse, they may wake up with symptoms like these:
- Watery mucus in the nose
- Watery or crusty eyes
- Feeling of tiredness
- Fever (sometimes)
- Sore throat
- Decreased or no appetite
A cold virus can affect your child’s sinuses, throat, bronchial tubes, and ears. They may also have diarrhea and vomiting.
At first your child may be irritable and complain of a headache and feeling stuffed up. After a while, the mucus coming out of their nose may turn darker and thicker.
How Many Colds Will My Child Get?
Babies and toddlers often have 8 to 10 colds a year before they turn 2 years old. Kids who are preschool age have around nine colds a year, while kindergartners can have 12 a year. Adolescents and adults get about two to four a year.
Cold season runs from September until March or April, so children usually get sick most often during these months.
How Can I Prevent My Kid From Catching One?
Your child can get sick when someone who’s got a cold touches an object that’s later touched by your child. Door handles, stair railings, books, pens, video game remotes, and a computer keyboard are some common “carriers” of cold viruses. They can live on one of those objects for several hours.