The common cold is caused by a virus and usually lasts for 5–7 days. Young children may get between six and 12 colds a year. As colds are caused by a virus, antibiotics make no difference to how quickly your child gets better. Antibiotics will not prevent pneumonia (an infection in the lungs).
As colds are caused by a virus, antibiotics make no difference to how quickly your child gets better. Antibiotics will not prevent pneumonia (an infection in the lungs).
If your baby has a blocked nose or is snuffly, cool boiled-water nose drops may help. They make the mucus moist and able to be sneezed out. Put one drop in each nostril every four hours or so using a nose dropper or by squeezing a drop from a piece of cotton wool or cloth. It can be helpful before feeding as it will help your baby’s breathing while they feed.
After 3 months of age, you may help unblock a snuffly nose by putting a decongestant such as Karvol on a hanky or tissue tucked between layers of your baby’s clothing (keeping it well away from the baby’s face). After 1 year you can use Vicks on a tissue or hanky between their singlet and other clothing. Teaching your toddler to blow their nose can help prevent ear infections.
If your baby has a cold, they may wake more often and may want many small feeds. If your older child doesn’t want to drink much, try offering small drinks frequently. Many children do not want to eat much when they have a cold. Do not worry if they are not hungry; drinking is more important.
To help stop the infection passing onto others, teach older children to cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing with a tissue and to wash their hands after blowing their nose or if they have sneezed into their hands.
See your doctor if you are concerned about your child, if they are breathing quickly, wheezing, having difficulty breathing (lower chest and stomach sucking in when breathing), have a chesty cough, a green runny nose, are not feeding/drinking well or are not getting better.
For help and advice call PlunketLine 0800 933 922, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If your child is sick please call Healthline, 0800 611 116, New Zealand's 24-hour telephone health advice service. All calls are answered by registered nurses.
In an emergency phone 111.