The common cold is called this for a reason – it is very common and not usually serious. Your child will likely have quite a few colds during his or her first few years!

What are the symptoms?

  • Runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing and a mild sore throat
  • Decreased appetite, headache and tiredness in some children
  • Fever, but it usually isn’t very high

How does it spread?

  • Direct contact
  • Indirect contact with germs from the nose or mouth (on hands, toys, tissues, etc.)
  • Droplets transmission (when a child coughs or sneezes and droplets reach other children who are close by)

What can you do as a parent to help your child?

  • Offer your child fluids and encourage him or her to rest
  • Give acetaminophen (such as Tempra®) or ibuprofen for fever. The Canadian Paediatric Society does not recommend giving ibuprofen to babies under 6 months old without first talking to your physician
  • Clear nasal congestion with a rubber suction bulb and saline (saltwater) nose drops
  • In older children, offer salt water for gargling to help ease a sore throat
  • Consult a doctor if symptoms persist or worsen