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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Children and Colds

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How Can I Prevent My Kid From Catching One? continued...

It takes 20 seconds of hand washing with warm, soapy water to get rid of germs. Tell your child to sing "Happy Birthday to You" twice to know that he's washed long enough.

If your child has a cold, make sure you protect others from catching it. If he has symptoms, keep him home from school and avoid contact with other children.

Encourage your child to cover his mouth when sneezing and to use a tissue when he blows his nose. If he doesn't have a tissue, teach him to cough in his sleeve.

How Do You Treat a Cold?

Are Cold Medicines Safe for Kids?

The FDA and drugmakers say you shouldn't give over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to children under 4. These include things like:

These drugs are the active ingredients in many brands of kids' cold and cough medicines.

When to Call the Doctor

Talk to the pediatrician if your child doesn't get better after a few days. Also call if he has a high fever, vomiting, chills and shakes, a hacking cough, or extreme fatigue. These may be signs of something more severe, like the flu.

If your child has asthma, diabetes, or other long-term health conditions, call your pediatrician to talk about medicine or other treatments.

Alsowatch for signs of complications of the flu, such as pneumonia. Symptoms include a low-grade fever (less than 102 F), coughing up mucus, achiness, and tiredness.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on July 09, 2014
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