What to do for your child’s cold

By: Dr. Erin Shaw Special to The News Messenger
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It’s not unusual for children to get five to eight colds a year. While you can’t cure a cold, you can help your child feel better. Below are some tips to help your child get through the symptoms a little easier. • Give your child lots of liquids, such as fruit juice, Gatorade and water. Chicken soup can help, too. • Make sure your child gets enough sleep. But if your child is not tired, he or she doesn’t have to stay in bed. • To make a sore throat feel better, give your child warm liquids. Gargling with warm water and salt also helps. • To make a stuffed-up nose feel better, raise your child’s head with pillows and use a cool mist humidifier. • For babies, use saline nose drops and suction with a bulb syringe. Check with your child’s doctor before giving medicine. Never give aspirin to a child — it can make children very sick. Ask the doctor for other choices. Your child probably doesn’t need to see a doctor for most colds. But call the doctor if he or she has any of these symptoms: • Your child has cold symptoms, along with a fever higher than 100.4 degrees for more than 48 hours. • Your child rubs or pulls his or her ear or complains of pain in the ear. It could mean that your child has an ear infection. • Your child wheezes or has a hard time breathing or swallowing. • Your child has cold symptoms lasting for longer than 10 days. For babies younger than age 3 months: Your baby eats less, has decreased urine output, is very irritable or inconsolable, sleeps more than usual, has a weak cry or a fever greater than 100.4 degrees. Erin Shaw is a Sutter Medical Group pediatrician.