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Cold - Upper Respiratory Infection

An Upper Respiratory Infection is most often caused by a virus and is known as the common cold.

Symptoms of a Cold Usually Last 7-10 days and include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Congested nose with drainage
  • Low grade fever (usually not over 101.5 degrees F)
  • Temperature is greater than 101.5 degrees F for 2 days 
  • Hacking cough which may become worse at night. Some coughing is good because it clears the breathing passages.
  • Headache
  • Watery eyes
  • Increased crying and fussiness
  • Decreased sleep due to all symptoms above

Home Care:

  • Increase rest periods.
  • Give extra liquids (example: juice, Jell-O®, Popsicles® or Pedialyte®).
  • Give non-aspirin pain reliever such as Tylenol® or Ibuprofen for fever greater than 102 degrees F. Over-the-counter cold medicines are NOT recommended for children under 4 years of age without consulting your child’s doctor.
  • Raise the head of the crib or use 2 pillows for an older child.
  • Use a cool mist vaporizer in your child’s room to add moisture to the air. This may make breathing easier. Cool mist vaporizers should be cleaned daily to prevent bacterial growth. Follow the cleaning instructions for your humidifier.
  • Stay away from other people while your child has cold symptoms.
  • DO NOT let anyone smoke around your child.
  • DO NOT use baby powder-the powder dust makes it harder to breathe.
  • Older children can have cough drops.
  • For young babies, use salt water nose drops and a bulb syringe to clear mucous from the nose.

Call Your Child's Doctor If:

  • Temperature is greater than 101.5 degrees F for 2 days
  • Your child is not able to drink or refuses to drink
  • Increased crying and fussiness
  • Your child has nasal drainage lasting longer than 7 days
  • Complaints of ear pain
  • Child is not able to return to normal activity within 3 days
  • Severe cough
  • A change in your child’s breathing pattern
  • Your child feels worse instead of better.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 10/2011