Colds: Coughs, Sneezes and Sniffles

The most common infection that your child will have in the first 2 to 3 years of life will be a cold.  Most children will have 8 to 10 colds in the first 18 to 24 months of life and if he / she are in daycare or in contact with older siblings that go to school then it will be a lot easier for them to “catch a cold”.  The most important thing to remember is that most colds get better with supportive treatment and are self-limited (get better on its own).  In some cases however your child may need to see his or her doctor. 

Colds are caused by viruses which are very small organisms, and unlike bacterial infections cannot be treated with antibiotics.  People usually spread colds from one another by coughing, sneezing or touching their noses and transferring the virus to their hands.  When an infected person touches a healthy person, this creates a cycle that permits the virus to be transmitted from one person to another.

A cold will usually run a course of 7 to 10 days and some signs and symptoms of colds include:  Runny nose, sneezing, cough, mild fevers (defined as between 100.4 degrees F and 101.5 degrees F), decreased appetite, sore throat and general irritability. 

Please be aware that if your child is less than three months of age, he or she will need to be seen / evaluated by your physician.  In general if a child is under 2 years of age and you have any concerns as a parent, we will always do our best to accommodate seeing your child at our clinic as soon as we are able to. 

Fevers greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit or unexplained general fussiness can be a sign of other underlying illness in addition to the child’s cold and probably necessitate your child needing to be seen by his / her doctor.  Please contact your child’s physician for further information / advice.
Above information has been adapted from AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) general guidelines.  It does not however replace any information / medical advice from your child’s doctor.