Kids and Colds

Colds. Nobody likes them, but everybody gets them! So, what is a cold anyway? A cold is another word for an upper respiratory tract infection -- an infection of your nose and throat. Areas of the body connected to the nose and throat -- like the sinuses and middle ear -- are often affected too.

How Colds Spread

Cold viruses can spread by being around others with sneezes and coughs, and also on dirty hands. Viruses survive for several hours, so children are especially at risk for catching colds when visiting crowded places like malls and theaters, or if they go to nursery school or daycare.

Preventing Colds

Cold viruses are hard to prevent in kids, but there are a few lessons parents can teach kids that will increase their chances of staying healthy longer. These include:

  • To practice good hand hygiene.
  • Avoid close contact with people who have colds or other upper respiratory infections.

Caring for a Cold

During the first phase of a cold, your child should rest quietly at home -- with plenty of acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve aches, pains and fever that a cold can bring. To avoid spreading infection, be sure you, your child and others around your child wash hands carefully and as often as possible. Also, it will help your child to drink lots of fluids and to have a cool-mist vaporizer in his/her room.

Call Your Doctor If...

  • Your child is having trouble breathing.
  • Your child is having chest pain, earache or sinus pain (pain in the forehead, behind cheek bones or in upper teeth).
  • Your child has a sore throat along with whitish or yellow spots on his/her tonsils or if your child develops a rash.
  • Your child has a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, or if a milder fever lasts more than two days.

In addition, it is important to call the doctor immediately if your child has a fever with chills, especially if the chills make his/her body shake all over.

Additional Information

Need a new pediatrician? Search the Warren Clinic pediatric providers to find one in your area. If your child needs immediate attention, please visit our Pediatric Emergency Services page to learn about our Urgent Care and Emergency Centers.