What to look out for
Symptoms of a cold can include sneezing, a sore throat, a blocked nose or a runny nose. The runny nose is normally clear at the start but may become thicker and darker before the infection clears.
Green snot does not mean that your child has a bacterial infection that needs antibiotics. It just means your child’s nose is inflamed and irritated and producing more snot to help fight the virus that is causing the cold.
With a cold and runny nose, your child will usually feel worse during the first two to three days before gradually starting to get better. A cold usually lasts for about a week in older children but a little longer in the under-fives.
Watch the video to learn more about coping with a cold.
What can you do
Most colds will get better by themselves without any special treatment. Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids, gets lots of rest and eats healthily. Your child can resume normal activities when they feel well enough.
Talk to your pharmacist about paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve your child’s pain or a fever. Nasal saline sprays can help to clear blocked noses in children. Over-the-counter throat sprays, lozenges and cough remedies may also help.
Coughing and sneezing spreads the germs that caused your child’s cold in the first place so it is important not to pass the cold on to others. Get your child to cough and sneeze into a tissue, bin the tissue immediately and wash your hands afterwards.
When to seek help
Your child does not need antibiotics for a cold. Colds are caused by viruses and antibiotics do not treat viruses.
Usually, your child does not need to see the doctor. You can treat the cold at home.
As you can probably guess, this website can never replace the advice you might get from a health professional. If you are worried about your child, please call or visit your GP or pharmacist.