10 Tips and home remedies for child’s cold
A cold (also called a common cold or viral rhinitis) is the most common infection in the United States infecting millions each year. It is a contagious disease affecting the upper respiratory system, and this infection is caused by several types of viruses. Over 200 types of viruses have been identified to cause the common cold. Most of the cold cases are caused by viruses belonging to the rhinovirus family. Other common causes of cold include coronavirus, adenovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Most people with common cold recover in about 7-10 days.
The common cold is one of the main reasons for missing schools in children and missing work in adults. Children are affected more commonly with cold than adults, who may have an average of two to three colds each year. One can avoid getting a cold by following hygiene practices, such as frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact with sick people, and not touching the face with unwashed hands. Although most people catch a common cold in the winter and spring, it is possible to get a cold at any time of the year. There is no evidence whether going out in cold weather can make you more vulnerable to catch a common cold.
The symptoms of a common cold typically subside in 3-10 days. They generally begin with a sore throat and runny nose. Other symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever (particularly in children), headache, body ache, and stuffy nose. Since the symptoms of other respiratory infections, including flu and COVID-19, may be similar to a common cold, you must consult a doctor for a definitive diagnosis. For providing comfort to your child from a cold, you may try the following safe and effective ten home remedies:
- Adequate rest: A cold may perturb your child’s sleep. Make sure they get plenty of rest to compensate for that.
- Clothing: The clothing should not be too thick or too thin. Make sure the child stays warm and comfortable.
- Saline nasal drops: You can get over the counter (OTC) saline nasal drops. They contain salt and water that can be instilled in the nose twice a day to relieve congestion.
- Adequate hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids including water may help in faster recovery. Warm water with some lemon and honey will provide some Vitamin C and energy to the sick child. A cup of warm water with a pinch of turmeric may work wonders at bedtime.
- Humidifier: Dryness in the air may worsen the symptoms. You may use a cool-mist humidifier in the room for increasing the air moisture.
- Petroleum jelly: A cold can make the nostrils sore and sensitive. Dab a little petroleum jelly over the nares to provide comfort to your child and ease breathing.
- Chicken soup: Although there is not enough scientific evidence to support the role of warm chicken soup, many people report that it helps in relieving congestion and aids quicker recovery.
- OTC cough drops: For kids older than 6 years of age, you can give cough drops or hard candy for relieving sore throat.
- Warm bath and steam: A warm bath can comfort the stuffiness and aches. A heating pad may also help provide comfort from aches and pains. Make sure that the temperature is not too high for the child. Making your child sit in a steam-filled bathroom may also ease body ache and congestion.
- OTC pain-relieving medications: You may give medications, such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, according to your child’s weight and age. Never give aspirin to your child or a teen because it may be harmful.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Is Good for a Child's Cold? Related Articles
Children's Cold, Fever & FluColds and fevers are some of the most common ailments in children. Learn common cold symptoms, treatment options, over the counter (OTC) medicines for cold and fever, home remedies, how to relieve a sore throat, how to bring down a high temperature, whether chicken soup works, and more.
Cold & Flu QuizAches? Pain? Fever? This Cold & Flu Quiz tests your knowledge on the difference between coming down with the common cold and sickness from influenza virus.
Cold and Cough Medicine for Infants and Children
The safety of giving infants and children over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicine is important for caregivers to understand. While there is no "gold standard" recommendation for giving infants and children OTC cold and cough medicine for fever, aches, cough, and runny nose, a few standards have been recommended.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that OTC cold and cough medicine only be used in children age four years and older.
The American College of Chest Physicians recommend that these medicines only be used in children age 15 years and older.
The FDA recommends that OTC cold and cough medicine be used in children 2 years of age and older.
However, there is agreement in regard to which OTC medications should not be used in children under the age of four (or the age of two, depending upon which guidelines are used), and they are 1) certain antihistamines like brompheniramine, chlorpheniramine maleate, and diphenhydramine (Benadryl); 2) cough expectorants (guaifenesin); 3) cough suppressants (dextromethorphan, DM); and 4) decongestants (pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine).
Aspirin should never be given to infants, children, and adolescents due to the possibility of a rare, but often severe and even fatal illness called Reye's syndrome.
FDA. "Most Young Children with a Cough or Cold Don't Need Medicines." July 18, 2017.
FDA. "Use Caution When Giving Cough and Cold Products to Kids." Updated: Nov 04, 2016.
Cough Remedies and CausesRemedies for coughing to relieve symptoms, thin mucus, and clear phlegm include cough syrup and honey in hot water. Use suppressants to treat a dry cough. See a doctor when home remedies are not enough. Bronchitis or another condition may be to blame.
Cold, Flu, Allergy TreatmentsBefore treating a cold, the flu, or allergies with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, it's important to know what's causing the symptoms, which symptoms one wishes to relieve, and the active ingredients in the OTC product. Taking products that only contain the medications needed for relieving your symptoms prevents ingestion of unnecessary medications and reduces the chances of side effects.
Common ColdThe common cold (viral upper respiratory tract infection) is a contagious illness that may be caused by various viruses. Symptoms include a stuffy nose, headache, cough, sore throat, and maybe a fever. Antibiotics have no effect upon the common cold, and there is no evidence that zinc and vitamin C are effective treatments.
Cold Prevention SlidesThe common cold is arguably the most common human illness. Learn how long the common cold lasts, treatment for the common cold and ways to prevent it.
Common Cold QuizTake this quiz to learn the truth behind the infectious, contagious, uncomfortable disease known as the common cold. Test your knowledge of colds; get prevention tips, and learn what you may want to avoid when treating a cold!
Common Cold: Stages and Timeline of Symptom ProgressionThe common cold or viral rhinitis is an upper respiratory infection caused by several types of viruses. It is one of the most common infectious diseases affecting humans. A common cold may typically follow a certain pattern of progression that has four different stages.
COVID-19 vs. Flu vs. ColdWhen you're feeling sick, it can be difficult to distinguish the symptoms of a COVID-19 infection from the symptoms of the common cold or the flu (influenza). While fever is common with the flu and COVID-19, sneezing is typically only associated with colds. Though sore throats are typical with colds, they are uncommon with COVID-19 infections and the flu.
Using Superficial Heat and Cold Applications for TreatmentSuperficial heat and cold therapy are adjunctive therapy used for pain control and sports injury treatment. These therapies exert their effects at a depth of 1-2 cm. In general, these therapies limit tissue damage, control symptoms and restore the function of the injured part.
How Do You Get Rid of a Cold Overnight?Cold symptoms are part of your body’s healing processes. Most of the time, it does not require any help. However, you can get rid of a cold faster, even overnight, by resting, drinking hot fluids, blowing your nose, gargling with salt water, taking a hot shower, using a humidifier and taking OTC pain relievers and decongestants.
How Long Is a Cold or Flu Contagious?Viruses cause the common cold and the flu. Early symptoms and signs for a cold and the flu are similar, however, flu symptoms are typically more severe than cold symptoms. Cold and flu viruses are transmitted typically via coughing or sneezing.
Adenovirus 14 (Killer Cold Virus)Adenovirus infection, particularly Ad14, or the "killer cold virus" has been on the increase in the past two years. Symptoms range from those experienced with colds, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, pinkeye, fever, bladder infection, and neurological conditions. Diagnosis and treatment options need to be discussed with your physician.
Panniculitis from Cold PictureLocal exposure to cold leads to the formation of ice crystals within cells. Injury to cell contents occurs during both cooling and thawing. See a picture of Panniculitis from Cold and learn more about the health topic.
How to Differentiate Between the Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19, Allergies, Cold, and Flu?Coronavirus disease or COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Most people with COVID-19 will experience a mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without the need for intensive or special treatment. Serious illness is more likely in elderly people and those with underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer.
Cold, Flu, and Cough: Things That Suppress Your Immune SystemA strong immune system is your best protection against infections and illnesses. Find out what can weaken that defense.