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The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. The virus is spread in droplets coughed or sneezed by others and by direct contact with sufferers. Children are particularly susceptible to colds as they have little natural resistance. There are around 200 different strains of cold viruses circulating, so it's likely that each time your child gets a cold he's meeting that bug for the first time.
How can I tell if my child has a cold?
Most colds run their course in three to ten days. At the start of a cold, a baby or toddler will often feel hot and generally under the weather. His temperature may rise quickly. In the early stages of a cold, some children may vomit. Cold symptoms take two to three days to develop, after which sneezing is usually the first sign, followed by a blocked-up nose and a sore throat. After a few days, the nasal discharge may thicken and become green or yellowish.
How can a cold be treated?
There's no cure for the common cold. Medicines only help to relieve the symptoms. Before giving any medicine read the instructions carefully, make sure it's suitable for his age and never give more than the stated dose. Otherwise, plenty of fluids, rest and lots of cuddles are the best remedy. Babies should produce a wet nappy every three hours or so. If he stays dry for longer, it's a sign that he's not getting enough liquid.
Occasionally, a cold can lead to a cough or ear infection. Consult your GP if:
Contact your GP if:
Seek urgent medical help if: