Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor.org, the AAFP patient education Web site.
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.
Copyright © 2012 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.
Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions