Most children develop mild colds and coughs at least once a year.
Symptoms usually improve within a week and disappear within 14 days. But toddlers under three need careful attention; they can get very sick.
When your toddler has a cough or cold, you might notice a runny nose, cough (which may or may not produce mucus), fever or sore throat. Your toddler may also be irritable. To support a healthy recovery:
- Let your toddler rest.
- Keep the room temperature comfortable - not too hot.
- Give your toddler plenty of fluids (breast milk, water, other fluids).
- Use a cool air humidifier.
- Use saline drops in your toddler’s nostrils to help clear a stuffy nose.
- Raise the head of your toddler’s bed by 2.5–5 cm (1–2 in.) by placing blocks under the legs.
- Provide extra attention.
- Practice good hand washing.
Colds and Antibiotics
If your toddler has a cold, antibiotics won't help. Colds are caused by viruses, and antibiotics can't treat viruses. There is also a risk of side effects from antibiotics, including allergic reaction. More common side effects include: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, and yeast infections.
Antibiotics also kill good bacteria contributing to the growth of dangerous antibiotic-resistant superbugs. If you are concerned about your toddler’s cough or cold, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1, or contact your public health office or family doctor.
Cold and Fever Medications
- Never give your toddler decongestant or antihistamine medications unless recommended by your doctor.
- Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce pain or fever.
Always check the label carefully so you administer the right amount. Call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 for guidelines if needed.