Kids and the Common Cold

Our kids probably will catch colds this winter and feel down in the dumps. There are ways to make them feel better.

By FamilyTime


Young children average six to ten colds a year, and in North America these colds usually occur in the fall and winter. If your kids go to daycare or school, there is little chance that they will escape catching a cold.

When children have colds, they can usually go to school. Given how many times kids are infected, if parents kept them home for every sneeze or sniffle, school attendance and workplace productivity would suffer.


When a child has a cold he sneezes and coughs, his nose runs, his eyes water, and his throat may be scratchy. While typically he does not have a fever, he may feel achy, tired, and cranky.

If a child develops fever that lasts for more than a day or so, swollen glands, an ear ache, or a cough that brings up mucus, consult your pediatrician. Some colds can lead to bacterial infections of the middle ear or sinuses. These conditions require antibiotics

Care for a Cold

Because colds are viruses, they do not respond to antibiotics. To date, no cure for the common cold exists, but there are a number of ways to alleviate the symptoms.

These include rest, drinking a lot of fluids, gargling with mild salt water solutions, and taking acetaminophen or another over-the-counter cold relief remedy -– but only after checking with your pediatrician.


Preventing colds is the most important aspect of cold care. To do so, encourage your kids and everyone else in the family to wash their hands often and thoroughly. This means before every meal, when you come home from any sort of outing, and after playing with other children.

Otherwise, make sure the kids eat right and get plenty of sleep. They should be taught to cough and blow noses into tissues, and to try not to touch kids with colds.

The daycare centers and schools your kids attend should have well ventilated classrooms and the staff should disinfect surfaces daily. If the children nap during the day, there should be plenty of space between them and the kids should sleep only with their own blankies and stuffed animals.