Conditions + Treatments

Treatments for Cold in Children

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How is a cold treated?

Please remember that there is no cure for the common cold. Antibiotics will not help. Therefore, the goal of treatment is to relieve discomfort caused by the symptoms. Medication will not make your child's cold go away any faster.

Your child's doctor may recommend:

  • increased fluid intake – having your child drink more liquids will help keep the lining of the nose and throat moist and help to prevent dehydration
  • avoidance of secondhand smoke – secondhand smoke will increase the irritation in the nose and throat

To help relieve your child's congestion and nose blockage:

  • Saline nose drops may be used.
  • Use a bulb syringe to help remove your infant's mucus.
  • Place a cool mist humidifier in the room to help loosen phlegm.
  • Analgesics, such as acetaminophen, are sometimes helpful in decreasing the discomfort of colds. Consult your child's physician before giving any medication to your child.

Is it safe to give aspirin to children?

Do not give your child aspirin to a child without first contacting her physician. Aspirin given to children has been associated with Reye syndrome, a potentially serious and deadly disorder in children. Therefore, we recommend that aspirin (or any medication that contains aspirin) not be used to treat any viral illnesses in children.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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