A cold

The common cold is called this for a reason—it is very common and not usually serious. Your child will likely have quite a few colds during their first few years!

What are the symptoms of a cold?

  • Runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, and a mild sore throat
  • Decreased appetite, headache, and tiredness in some children
  • Fever, but it usually isn’t very high

How does it spread?

  • Direct contact
  • Indirect contact with germs from the nose or mouth (on hands, toys, tissues, etc.)
  • Droplet transmission (when a child coughs or sneezes and droplets reach other children who are close by)

What can you do as a parent to help your child?

  • Offer your child fluids and encourage him or her to rest.
  • Give acetaminophen (such as Tempra®) or ibuprofen for fever.
    NOTE: The Canadian Paediatric Society does not recommend giving ibuprofen to babies under 6 months old without first talking to your physician.
  • Clear nasal congestion with a rubber suction bulb and saline (saltwater) nose drops.
  • In older children, offer saltwater for gargling to help ease a sore throat.
  • Consult a doctor if symptoms persist or worsen.