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Colds

The common cold is an illness that infants and developing children will experience frequently as they build immunities. Many children have difficulty getting through a cold, often resulting in a very miserable experience for both the child and their parents. It is common for children to have an estimated 6-12 colds per year.

Colds are viral infections of a child’s upper respiratory tract. There are several different viruses which can cause symptoms of a common cold in children. It’s important to understand that viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are used in bacterial infections.

Onset of a cold in children may begin with your child complaining of a headache or sore throat. Infants that have not developed speech will present symptoms of watery nasal discharge, frequent sneezing, cough, or fatigue. It is possible for children to have diarrhea and/or vomit during the duration of their cold. Colds typically last up to a week in children, with some symptoms lingering for a few weeks, such as cough.

The best treatment against the common cold is to wash your child’s hands or have them wash their hands often. Colds are easily spread through hand-to-hand contact. For example, if an infected child sneezes into their hands and then makes contact with your child, who puts their hand in their mouth, then it’s likely your child will catch the same virus. You should also be proactive in wiping down common objects or toys that your child plays with often to prevent spreading of germs.

Most treatment of the common cold is done at home through over-the-counter medications (be sure to check with your doctor if the medication you want to use it acceptable), rest, and liquids to stay hydrated. We recommend placing a humidifier in your child’s room while they sleep in order to decongest their sinuses. Though most treatment is performed at home, you should have a board-certified pediatrician check for signs of other infection such as ear infections, sinus infections, throat infections, or rashes that may develop during your child’s cold.

Proudly Affiliated With:


• Northridge Hospital • Providence Tarzana Medical Center •
Valley Presbyterian Hospital • Huntington Memorial Hospital
• Children’s Hospital Los Angeles • Providence Holy Cross Medical Center
• Cedars Sinai Medical Center

Kids & Teens Medical Group