More than 200 different viruses can cause this infection, but the rhinovirus is the most common culprit. Antibiotics, which fight bacteria, won't treat your child's cold because a cold is a viral illness. Viral illness cannot be treated with antibiotics.
Except in newborns or in immuno-compromised children, colds in healthy children aren't dangerous. They usually go away in 4 to 10 days without treatment.
Typical cold symptoms include:
- runny or stuffed-up nose and sneezing
- mild sore throat
- loss of appetite
- fatigue (being tired)
- mild fever
Since there is no cure for the common cold, treatment has two goals: to make you feel better and to help you fight off the virus.
Lots of rest is the key treating a cold. You may find you need 12 hours of sleep each night, so don't set that alarm. You'll be most comfortable in a warm, humid environment. It's also important to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol and caffeine. This makes mucus flow more freely and helps with congestion.
No specific treatment exists for the virus that is causing your cold, but in treating the symptoms you can find relief. For aches and pains accompanied by a fever of 100.5 degrees or higher, give Tylenol rather than aspirin in children to avoid the risk of Reye syndrome, a sometimes fatal condition that may occur in children with viral illnesses. Adults can take Tylenol, aspirin or Naproxen OTC. There is a soft recommendation to avoid ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), which may increase replication of rhinovirus.