The common cold (upper respiratory infection) is one of the most common illnesses in children. Each year it leads to more healthcare provider visits and missed days from school and work than any other illness. Millions of people in the U.S. will get a cold each year.
Here are a few facts:
Colds happen when a virus irritates (inflames) the lining of the nose and throat. Colds can be caused by more than 200 different viruses. But most colds are caused by rhinoviruses.
To catch a cold, your child must come in contact with someone who is infected with one of the cold viruses. The cold virus can be spread:
All children are at risk for the common cold. They are more likely than adults to get a cold. Here are some reasons why:
Cold symptoms start from 1 to 3 days after your child has been in contact with the cold virus. Symptoms usually last about 1 week. But they may last up to 2 weeks. Symptoms may be a bit different for each child.
In babies, cold symptoms may include:
Older children may have:
These symptoms may seem like other health problems, such as the flu. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
There is no cure for the common cold. Most children recover from colds on their own. Antibiotics don’t work against viral infections, so they are not prescribed. Instead, treatment is focused on helping ease your child’s symptoms until the illness passes. To help your child feel better:
Some of the complications that might occur if your child gets a cold include:
To help children stay healthy:
Contact your child’s healthcare provider right away if your child has:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider: