Colds in Children | Diagnosis & Treatments

How are colds diagnosed?

A cold will most often be diagnosed based on your child’s symptoms. However, cold symptoms may be similar to certain bacterial infections, allergies, and other medical conditions.

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.