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Treating the Common Cold

Here are some do’s and don’ts that we suggest to help you to treat your child’s cold. These also apply to adults.

  1. Do keep your child’s room moist or humid (especially in the colder months) by using a vaporizer or humidifier containing only water. Two types of vaporizers are on the market, hot and cold. Use the cool mist (cold) vaporizer. It’s much safer and more effective. The vaporizer will help keep the cold “loose” and makes breathing easier.
  2. Do use salt-water nose drops for nasal congestion. You can make this easily by mixing one cup (8 oz or 240 ml) of clean water with one-half a teaspoon (2.5 ml) of table salt. Use a small dropper to drop into the nose as often as needed. Store in a clean container for the duration of the cold.
  3. Do give your child plenty of liquids. This includes juices, soup broth, Jell-O, ice cream and water. Do not force them to drink milk if they don’t want any.
  4. Do keep your child indoors as much as possible until his cold is almost gone.
  5. Do give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) for a fever of 101° F or higher. You can give this medication every four (4) hours if the temperature remains elevated. Do not give more than five (5) doses in a 24 hour period. More fever management information.
  6. Do not force your child to eat more than s/he wants. When your child has a cold, or any other illness, it is normal for their appetite to drop off.
  7. Do not give your child the left over part of an old prescription of amoxicillin or any other antibiotics. These medications do not cure a cold and their use will do more harm than good.
  8. Do not overdress or overheat your child. A room temperature of 72° F is warm enough.

If the cold lasts for more than 10 days, if your child or infant becomes very fussy or very quiet, or if a high fever continues for more than 24 hours, please contact our office to schedule an appointment or speak with one of our staff.

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Last reviewed January 3, 2010