Common Cold


Your child may be very lucky and go through the year with catching a cold. However, the likelihood of catching a cold sometime during the year is pretty probable.

An illness may be caused by two types of germs; bacteria or a virus. Illnesses caused by bacteria can be killed with antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. However, only the body can fight off an illness caused by a virus.

In most cases, a cold is caused by a virus.

Our pediatricians recommend the following advice if your child catches a cold:

  • Make sure they eat and get plenty of rest.
  • Your child should drink lots of fluids like juice, water or formula (for infants). This will help keep their body from losing too many fluids.
  • For fevers, headaches or muscle aches acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) is the best option for your child. Do not give your child aspirin.
  • If a sore throat accompanies your child’s cold a salt water gargle might soothe their throat. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and have your child gargle the mixture. When they’re done make sure they spit out the mixture.
  • A cool mist vaporizer or a pan of water on the radiator or stove can help relieve a stuffy nose.
  • For infants, one or two drops of salt water in each nostril (which they will either sneeze out or which you can carefully suction out with a nasal syringe) will help.
  • Do not smoke in the house if your child has a cold.
  • Use a cold medicine for your child only with your doctor’s permission.

If you’re still not sure what to do the Pediatricians at Henry Ford are always there to help with the option of a same day appointment. Call 1-800-HENRYFORD (1-800-436-7936) and be seen that day by one our Pediatricians.

Your child should begin to feel better in three to five days. However, it is important to contact your child’s pediatrician if the following symptoms occur:

  • A high fever of (greater than 103oF or 39oC)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pulling at his or her ears

If you think your child is not getting better or feeling worse, call us at 1-800-HENRYFORD or go to the nearest pediatric emergency department.

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