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Parent Education

Treating Your Child's Cold
Young children get 8 to 10 colds each year. Children who are in day care, or spend time around school-aged children, may have even more. Colds can typically last as long as 14 days. You cannot cure a cold; it will usually go away on its own. But there are ways to ease you child's symptoms.

When children get a cold, these are your best bets to help relieve their symptoms:


  • Plain saline nose drops can help thin thick mucus, and a suction bulb can be used to remove it from your child's nose.
  • A cool-mist humidifier can also help clear a stuffy nose.
  • For runny noses, help you child gently blow into a soft tissue as needed. Applying petroleum jelly to the outer nose and upper lip can help prevent chapping and soreness that may make blowing hurt.


  • Plenty of fluids are important to keep a sick child well-hydrated and to soothe coughs.
  • Honey can be used to soothe a sick child's throat and decrease cough, if the child is over 1 year old. Since there are no risks of side effects or overdosing, it can be used as often as needed.
  • During rest time, elevate your child's head by placing a folded blanket or two under the mattress (Pillows aren't a safe idea for young children).

Fever/Sore Throat

  • Fever and minor sore throat pain may be treated with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
  • Talk to your doctor before treating a fever in infants under 3 months of age.

Proper Use of Over-the-Counter Medicines

When used as directed, pain medicines, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), provide effective relief for fever, and minor aches and pains that your child may experience with a cold. Here is how to properly use these medicines in children:

  • Talk to your doctor before treating a fever in infants under 3 months of age.
  • Give the proper amount of medicine for your child's weight/age.
  • Understand how often the dose can be given.
  • Understand the maximum number of doses your child can take in 24 hours.
  • Never give adult-formula medicines to children, even in smaller doses.
  • Always use the dosing device that comes packaged with the medicine.
  • Never give cough and cold medicines to children under 6 years of age. If your child is taking more than one medicine, check the active ingredients labels on each to make sure they don't contain any of the same ingredients.
  • Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Children's TYLENOL (acetaminophen is sometimes abbreviated APAP).
  • Ibuprofen is the active ingredient in Children's MOTRIN and ADVIL.

Call us if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing,wheezing, or shortness of breath.
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes in her neck.
  • Chest pain.
  • Skin rash.
  • Persistent temperature of 101.5°F or higher.
  • Severe or persistent headaches.
  • Confusion.
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes in her neck


North Shore Pediatrics, PC  -  480 Maple Street, Suite 3A, Danvers, MA 01923
Telephone 978.406.4234  -  Fax 978.921.2968

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