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Information from Your Family Doctor
Treating the Common Cold in Children
Am Fam Physician. 2012 Jul 15;86(2):online.See related article on treatment of the common cold in children and adults.
What do I do if my child has a cold?
Most colds don't cause serious illness and will get better over time. Cold symptoms can be treated with some over-the-counter remedies, although some over-the-counter treatments shouldn't be used in young children. Always talk to your doctor before giving your child over-the-counter treatments.
What over-the-counter treatments are helpful in children?
Buckwheat honey: Eases cough, but shouldn't be used in children younger than one year
Nasal saline spray: Helps sore throat, runny nose, and stuffy nose
Pelargonium sidoides (geranium) extract (one brand: Umcka Coldcare): Eases cough and can help your child breathe better through the nose
Vapor rub: Eases cough, but your child may not like the strong smell
Zinc sulfate syrup: Decreases how long your child has cold symptoms, but it may cause a bad taste in the mouth and upset your child's stomach
What treatments are not helpful in children?
Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines
This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at http://familydoctor.org.
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.
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