Also: Upper respiratory viruses

For the safety of your family, this information is intended for use by North Seattle Pediatrics patients exclusively.

Colds are common and usually involve a congested or runny nose, a cough and a low grade fever.  Sore throats are also common as are mild headaches and decreased energy.  A fever with a cold usually starts within 2 days of the onset of cold symptoms, usually spikes 2 or 3 times a day, and usually lasts 2-4 days.

Helpful home care for colds includes:

  • offering small amounts of liquids frequently to keep your child well hydrated
  • using a cool mist humidifier (without medication added)
  • letting your child breathe in a steamy bathroom before bed
  • if your child is over 3 months old and has low grade fever or mild discomfort you may give them Tylenol (acetaminophen) by this dosing and schedule.
  • if they are over 6 months you may use Ibuprofen (advil, motrin) for fever or mild discomfort with this dosing and schedule.
  • an infant may need occasional nasal saline drops to help open a stuffy nose. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 1 cup of warm water. Use a dropper to put one drop of salt water in one nostril. Wait a few seconds. Your child may sneeze the salt water and mucous out or you may gently suction with a bulb syringe.  Repeat on the other nostril.
  • we do not recommend cold or cough medicine for children under the age of 6 years because of the risks of side effects and because they usually don’t help very much

Call us right away at 206-368-6080 if your child:

  • is having a severe problem breathing (call 911 if they are unresponsive or look bluish )
  • is under 2 months old and has a fever over 100.4° F rectal

Call us during office hours if your child:

  • has a relapse of fever after they were fever free for more than 24 hours
  • has a fever that is getting steadily higher or lasts more than 5 days
  • has ear pain or wakes with sudden screaming during the night (treat the pain with tylenol or ibuprofen until we see the child)
  • has a wheezy cough