Caring for Your Child's Cold

Disclaimer: Not medical or professional advice. Always seek the advice of your physician.

Help for a Child with a Cold

Spoiler alert: cold symptoms require no medical treatment unless they bother your child or other family members.

All medicines have risks and possible side effects, especially when it comes to the treatment of younger children. Let's find out what drugs can be used to treat various cold symptoms in kids.

Fever with Colds in Children

Benefits of Having a Fever

  • it can slow down the reproduction of some viruses or bacteria
  • it helps speed up the immune response to pathogens

However, some of these benefits disappear when the temperature is too high (over 100 F).

First Aid for Fever

  • remove extra clothing as the baby can easily overheat
  • give your child plenty of fluids. Kids sweat more when they have a fever
  • do not force eating if your child does not feel like it

Disadvantages of Antipyretic Drugs

  • it is impossible to track the dynamics of fever
  • the unclear clinical picture of the underlying disease
  • adverse effects of the drug

It is strictly forbidden to reduce the fever with abdominal pain! You do not have to bring the temperature down to normal, just try to relieve fever. If your child is sleeping, it is not necessary to wake them up to give medications.

Antipyretic Treatment in Young Children

  • Ibuprofen may be given to children over the age of 6 months. Ibuprofen provides a longer-lasting antipyretic effect and also decreases inflammation. It usually takes about 20-30 minutes to work. The duration of action is 6-8 hours.
  • You can use paracetamol for children over 3 months old. Paracetamol has been proven to be the safest drug with the lowest incidence of side effects. The effect of the drug begins within 30-60 minutes after administration and reaches its maximum in 3-4 hours. It lasts for up to 4-6 hours.

The dose should be calculated based upon the child's weight, not age. Always use a measuring spoon.

Antipyretics are available in the form of syrup, suppositories, and tablets for older children. Parents can choose any dosage form. For example, if the baby spits out the syrup, then it is better to use suppositories. If the child has diarrhea, then syrup is more suitable. Do not give two dosage forms of the drug at the same time! This increases its toxic effect. You can switch from one dosage form to another, but physicians do not recommend alternating them. You can get confused with doses and frequency of administration.

If the fever lasts longer than 4-5 days, or if anything unusual or alarming accompanies the fever, you should see your physician to rule out a bacterial infection.

What to do if Antipyretics are not Effective?

  • Give a sponge bath with 86-90 F water for 5 minutes every 30 minutes. Focus on the child's condition.
  • Try to lower the temperature in the room, remove excess clothing from the child. 

Febrile Seizures with Fever in Children

Febrile seizures occur in 2-4% of children and terrify parents. Generally, the development of seizures is triggered by a viral infection (influenza, parainfluenza, herpes type 6) or fever during vaccination in children from 6 months to 5 years.

Not every rise in temperature causes seizures, even if they occurred before. Seizures may be accompanied by rolling eyes, loss of consciousness, groaning, and breathing problems. Most children stop having seizures by the age of 5-6. Febrile convulsions usually occur in children who have a sudden spike in body temperature. In rare cases, they may indicate the onset of some forms of epilepsy. 

What To Do If Your Child Experiences Febrile Seizures

First aid for a child having a febrile convulsion is aimed at preventing injury and trying to cool the baby down. Anticonvulsants are not required.

  • place your child on the floor on their side
  • open the window, sponge the child's skin with warm water
  • try to keep track of how long the seizure lasts and determine the type of seizure
  • give antipyretic drugs after the seizure has ended

Do not attempt to hold the child's tongue, put anything into the mouth, give anything to drink or medicines, use artificial respiration. 

How to Treat a Stuffy Nose in Children?

  • Use a saline nasal spray. It helps to wash out viruses, reduce swelling, moisturize the mucous membrane and improve the function of cilia in the nose. A moist mucous membrane prevents the damage of these sensitive tissues and infections from invading the nasal cavity.
  • Get mucus out of a child's nose. If they cannot blow their nose yet, you can use a nasal aspirator. 
  • How to Correctly Put Saline Drops in an Infant's Nose (less than 1 year old)
  • Lay your baby on his back
  • Turn his head to one side
  • Put a few drops of saline nose drops in one nostril. Wait a few seconds.
  • Repeat this process with the other nostril.

How to Soothe a Sore Throat in a Child With a Cold

  • Have your child drink lots of warm liquids to moisturize the mucous membranes.
  • You can give throat lozenges or hard candies to children over 4 years of age.
  • If your child likes frozen desserts, offer ice cream or popsicles.
  • Ibuprofen medications can be used to relieve pain
  • If the child is coughing, you can give him honey (for children over the age of 1).

If you are worried about symptoms your child is having or they become more severe over time, make an appointment with your physician or pediatrician.

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