Common Cold and Children

How do colds affect children?

Children have the same symptoms due to a cold as adults, but they may feel them more strongly. Children may also get a fever of up to 38 °C, whereas fevers are less common in adults.

For a child under 3 months of age, it is recommended that caregivers consult a doctor for any fever, no matter how mild.

Adults may be able to detect an oncoming cold by recognizing symptoms such as sore throat and stuffed nose, but for infants and toddlers less than 3 years of age that may be difficult, especially if the child has not yet learned to speak. Parents and caregivers may only recognize that a child has a cold after the symptoms are full on with runny noses, coughs or sneezes.

Caregivers should also be watchful for breathing issues. Most newborns cannot breathe through their mouths so if their nasal passages are completely obstructed, that can be a serious issue. Gasping, widening nostrils, sucking-in of the skin above or below the ribs and especially bluishness of the lips or fingertips are all signs that the child is having problems breathing and needs to be seen by a doctor right away.

Blocked nasal passages also make it difficult for an infant to breastfeed. In that case it is best to try to open up the passages using the treatments mentioned below.

Slightly older children also may not be able to convey that breathing through the nose is difficult due to congested airways. While they may have figured out how to breathe through their mouths, they may feel extremely uncomfortable doing so.

What can be done to treat colds in children?

The best things for children with colds are to keep them well-hydrated so that they can produce mucus to clear away the virus and making sure that they can breathe easily. For infants milk provides hydration, for older children water or clear liquids (clear soups, diluted fruit juices) are good sources.

Saline nasal sprays from a pharmacy or home-made salt-water drops can help with congestion. Be sure to use clean droppers and purified water. Two drops of salt water per nostril may help loosen up any mucus that’s blocking the passages. Some baby-centered shops in India now carry suction bulbs that can be used to try to dislodge and vacuum up any mucus in the nose.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.