Colds in children

Colds are an infection of the nose, throat or throat. It is almost always caused by a virus. Colds usually go by themselves, but there are things you can do to relieve the symptoms.

Colds infect easily, especially during the first few days when the child is ill. Wash your hands and the child’s hands frequently to avoid spreading the infection.


In the case of a cold, it is common for the child to have:

  • stuffy nose
  • runny snouts and sneezes
  • a little headache
  • fever
  • mild cough
  • difficult to swallow and irritated in the throat.

When the baby is infected, it only takes a day or so before the first symptoms arrive. Usually the child feels ill for the first two days, but then becomes more alert. The cord is clear at first and then thickens. The cord can be gray, yellow or green. The child may have a cough and cough for one to two weeks.

Coughing is part of the body’s defense. By coughing, the body gets rid of things that irritate the respiratory tract.

Children sometimes get high fever, but it usually goes over quickly.

When and where should I seek care?

The vast majority of those who are cold need not seek medical care because the problems usually go away by themselves.

Contact a health center or emergency room as soon as possible if the child has one or more of the following problems:

  • The child has a fever that persists for more than four days.
  • The fever returns after the child has been fever free for a few days.
  • The child gets more symptoms from the ears, throat, trachea or sinuses.
  • The child has difficulty sucking on the breast or the vial because the nose is stuffy.

You don’t need to seek care elsewhere if it is closed. Wait until the on-call reception or medical center opens.

This is how cold infects children

Colds in children are very contagious. The virus infects through tiny droplets in the air. They can be transmitted when the child sneezes, coughs or holds someone in his hand. Colds are easily spread as children often have a lot of body contact with other children and with adults. The virus can also sit on toys, which children lick and suck. Sometimes viruses and bacteria can remain on toys for several days.

It is common for children to be chilled several times a year

Children are more often chilled than adults. During the first years of children’s lives, it is common for them to receive ten to fifteen colds a year. Over time, the colds come less frequently. From the age of ten, children usually have five to ten colds a year, as do adults.

During the first two years, the infections usually do not make the child immune. Older children, on the other hand, often become immune to the virus they have been infected with.

Children up to six months have some protection against colds, thanks to antibodies transmitted to the child during the time in the stomach. However, a newborn is susceptible to infections, especially during the first month.

So I avoid the spread of cold

It is difficult to avoid having children being cold. Here are some tips to reduce the risk of infection spreading:

  • Wash your own and baby’s hands frequently. Before and after each meal.
  • Teach the child sneezing in the arm fold, instead of straight out.
  • Try to teach the child not to prick in the nose or eyes, as viruses are most easily caught there.

Let the child stay outdoors as much as possible, even in winter. Viruses spread more easily indoors.

Tobacco smoke leads to more respiratory infections

Children who are in environments where they breathe tobacco smoke more often get respiratory infections than children in smoke-free environments. Avoid the child being in environments where people smoke.

Should the child stay at home?

Children who have a fever, are tired and powerless should stay home from preschool, open preschool or school to rest. Children who are fever-free and feel good can go back to preschool or school even if they are cold.

What can I do myself to help the child?

You can help relieve the symptoms to make the child feel as good as possible.

The youngest children breathe through their noses. Therefore, it can be difficult for them to eat if they are stuffy in the nose. Often it is dried noses in the nose that cause the baby to become clogged.

Saline drops can be used as long as needed

You can drop one to two milliliters of saline in your nose if your baby has difficulty eating or breathing. It thins the cord and cleans the nose. Most of the solution flows back into the nose and down into the stomach and takes with it some of the leash. Saline drops can be purchased at a pharmacy without a prescription.

You can also make your own saline drops. Mix 1 deciliter of lukewarm water with 1 milliliter of salt. It is as much as 1 spice salt. The water does not need to be boiled, but it can feel better if the solution is lukewarm when you use it. Drop the solution into the baby’s nose using a small plastic syringe, which is available at pharmacies. Or use a cotton swab.

Saline drops are mild to the mucous membranes and can be used as long and as long as needed.

You can use breast milk instead of saline drops in the baby’s nose if you breastfeed.

Use a nosebleed

If your baby is still having difficulty breathing or eating, you can use a nasal aspirator to suck the tough mucus out of your nose. You can buy the craving at a pharmacy. Give nasal drops with saline solution to reduce mucus toughness.

Nasal drops allow you to use a limited amount of time

Children can get swelling nasal spray or nasal drops when stuffed in the nose. It causes the swelling of the nose to go down. There are no nasal sprays or nasal drops that are approved for children under one year. Then you will be given saline drops. Different nasal sprays and nasal drops are approved from different ages. Ask at a pharmacy and read the instructions on the package carefully.

Decongestant nasal spray and nasal drops should not be used for more than 10 days in a row. They can have the opposite effect if used longer and make the baby more stuffy and swollen in the nose.

Raise the head end of the bed

The swelling in the mucous membranes of the nose decreases if the child sleeps with his head high. You can try to put an extra pillow under the mattress. You can also place your legs at the head end of the bed on a couple of books to tilt the bed. Young children may find it comfortable to sit in a babysitter or in a baby carrier.

Doubtful if prescription drugs for cough help

There is no research to show that non-prescription cough medicines have any clear effect, but some find that they help. Let the child drink a lot. It is usually as effective as mucus-releasing drugs.

The cough is important for the child to get mucus and clean the airways. To relieve the cough you can give the baby water. For children over one year you can give honey that dissolves in warm water. Remember that honey can cause caries, so brush the baby’s teeth.

Do not give cough medicine to children under the age of two or to children who have asthma without first asking their doctor for advice.

Children with fever should drink frequently

Children get fluid deficiency faster than adults. A child who has a fever needs to drink more than usual, in order not to become dehydrated. For example, give the child water, juice or juice. A child who has been drinking too little can get tired, hungry and pee less than usual. If the child kisses about as often as usual, then they have had a good drink.

Sometimes children with fever do not want to eat regular food. There is no danger if the child has a little less appetite for a few days. Give the child something they like to eat and drink. It can be, for example, ice cream, cream or scallion.

Medicines for pain and fever in colds

Call 911 or your health care center before giving any medicine to children younger than six months.

  • You can give medicines containing paracetamol to children from three months of age.
  • You can give medicines containing ibuprofen from the age of six months.

The drugs are available in several different forms that are suitable for children, for example tablets that melt in the mouth and in liquid form. Ask a pharmacy what is right for your child.

Follow the instructions on the package carefully and do not combine different medicines. Here you can read about combining paracetamol and ibuprofen.

You can read more about a medicine in the package leaflet that comes with the package. You can also look up the drug at and read the package leaflet there.


Colds are usually caused by viruses and treatment with antibiotics will not help. The body’s immune system does the healing and the cold goes by itself.

About colds

A cold is an infection of the upper respiratory tract, mainly in the nose. Viruses or bacteria cause the mucous membranes to become infected. They then become swollen and form more mucus than usual. The mucus can be thin or thick.

There are hundreds of virus types that can cause colds.


If the cold does not pass, the child may have suffered a sequelae.

Ear inflammation is the most common sequelae

Sometimes colds can cause the child to get ear infections. The child aches in one or both ears. Ear inflammation often goes away by itself, but sometimes children need antibiotic treatment. This applies to children under one year, children under two years who have ear inflammation in both ears and children older than 12 years.

Cold Asthma

During the very first years of life, children often have asthma associated with respiratory tract infections. It is called cold asthma. The breathing then becomes squeaky and the exhalation heavier. Sometimes prolonged coughing in colds may be due to cold asthma. Cold asthma is treated in the same way as asthma.

Unusual for children to get sinusitis

Some children may get sinusitis when they are cold, but it is unusual. The child can then get stuffy nose, thick cough and aches in the forehead or cheeks.

Influence and participate in your care

You can seek care at any healthcare center you want throughout the country.

Children should be able to participate

There is no age limit for when a child can have influence over their care. The child’s ability to participate is related to the child’s maturity.

The older the child, the more important it is for them to be involved in their care. In order to be active in the care and to make decisions, it is important that you as an adult and the child understand the information you receive from the healthcare staff. Ask questions if you don’t understand.

You have the opportunity to interpret other languages ​​if one of you does not speak English. You also have the option of interpreting assistance if, for example, one of you has a hearing loss.

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