By Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Most babies and young children don't need medicines if they have a cold, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.
Over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicine should not be given to children younger than 2 because they could cause serious and potentially deadly side effects, the agency warned.
American adults average about three colds a year, but children get them more often. When children get a cold, parents might want to give them pain relievers, decongestants and other medicines, but often the best approach is rest and care, the FDA said in a news release.
"A cold is self-limited, and patients will get better on their own in a week or two without any need for medications. For older children, some OTC medicines can help relieve the symptoms -- but won't change the natural course of the cold or make it go away faster," Dr. Amy Taylor, a medical officer in FDA's Division of Pediatric and Maternal Health, said in the news release.
Coughs are a normal symptom of a cold and actually provide some benefits, Taylor noted.
While most children with colds do not need to see a doctor, Taylor said parents should call the doctor if they see any of these symptoms:
- A fever in an infant aged 2 months or younger, or a fever of 102 Fahrenheit or higher at any age.
- Signs of breathing problems, including nostrils widening with each breath, wheezing, fast breathing or the ribs showing with each breath.
- Blue lips, ear pain, not eating or drinking, signs of dehydration.
- Excessive crankiness or sleepiness, a cough that lasts for more than three weeks, or worsening condition.
"You have to know your child," Taylor said. "With small infants, fever is a major concern, and you need medical advice. If you are worried about your child's symptoms, at any age, call your pediatrician for advice."