It's a pain when kids have to deal with the sneezing, coughing, sore throat and fever of a common cold. But what, exactly, is a cold? What causes it, and how do we treat it?
"Common cold" is the name we give to a generally harmless infection that's most often caused by a virus. There are hundreds of viruses that cause colds, but rhinoviruses cause most of them. The viruses that cause colds spread through the air in droplets from sneezes and coughs. They can be on surfaces you touch. Viruses enter the body through your eyes, nose or mouth.
A child with a cold feels generally unwell. They can have a runny or stuffy nose. They may sneeze and cough. They can have a sore throat and congestion. It's common to have a mild fever, headache and body aches, too.
There is no cure for a cold. Antibiotics aren't effective, because antibiotics only kill bacteria, not viruses. Most colds last for about a week to ten days. During that time, you can use over-the-counter remedies to ease symptoms. Drinking fluids and getting plenty of rest also help recovery. For more tips, talk to your doctor.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.