Watching your child suffer through an illness may be one of the most difficult things for parents. There’s no cure for the common cold, but there are some things you can do to treat your child’s symptoms and make him or her feel as comfortable as possible until the illness passes.

If your child is younger than 3 months, call your pediatrician at the first sign of illness. If he or she is older than 3 months, the signs of a simple cold vs a more serious condition such as bronchitis or pneumonia may be slight and easy to miss. Consult your pediatrician immediately if your child:

  • Is breathing more rapidly than normal or seems to be having difficulty breathing
  • Has blue lips or nails
  • Has a cough that lasted more than 1 week
  • Spikes a fever of more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Has a runny nose that lasts more than 10 days
  • Has a ear pain
  • Is excessively cranky or sleepy

You may not need a doctor visit if the cold seems mild and isn’t progressing. As with adults, extra rest and fluids are one of the best ways to help a cold to subside more quickly. Saline (salt water) nasal sprays can be used to help clear kid’s sore, stuffed noses and help them to stay moisturized.Be careful not to use medicated nasal sprays. Use a rubber suction bulb to clear out excess nasal mucus every few hours or as often as your child will let you. To use a rubber suction bulb, squeeze the round end of the device until most of the air is out. Insert the tip into your child’s nose and slowly release the bulb to draw out the excess mucus. Rubber suction bulbs work best with kids under 6 months as they don’t fight it as much.

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