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Caring for a Child with a Cold


Updated July 02, 2014

Caring for a sick child
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Question: What Can I Do for My Child When He Has a Cold?

Sneezes and sniffles, runny nose and scratchy throat. If your child has a cold, you need to know how to take care of him. There are a few things to keep in mind when caring for a child with a cold.


When children are sick, they need special considerations. They don't always have the same symptoms as adults do and they don't always require the same treatments.


If your child is suffering from a cold, be sure to check his temperature. Children run a fever with a cold more often than adults do. However, if his fever goes above 102 degrees or lasts for more than three days, you should call his doctor to make sure it has not developed into something more serious.


Make sure that any medication you give your child is just for children and is treating only the symptoms he has. If he only has a fever and a stuffy nose, he doesn't need a multipurpose cold medication that treats a cough also. It is better to give medications that treat one symptom at a time. Also, be sure to check with your doctor to get dosage information for your child's age and weight.

Keeping Him Home

You should always keep your child home from activities (school, camp, daycare, etc) if he is running a fever. That is when he is most contagious and likely to spread the illness to other children.

Drink, Drink, Drink

Make sure he has plenty of fluids to drink, but not soda or too much juice. Electrolyte drinks are great for replacing lost nutrients when your child is not eating well, but it is very important not to replace more than half of his fluids with these drinks.


Perhaps most importantly, make sure your child gets plenty of rest. You don't have to restrict his activity completely, but give him adequate time for naps and sleeping.

If you pay close attention to your child's behavior and attitude, you will probably be able to tell what he needs and you can help him recover as quickly as possible.


Chilling Out With Colds. KidsHealth. The Nemours Foundation May 2004. 29 May 2007.


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