Coughs & Colds

Not Usually Serious

You will probably find when your child goes to playgroup or nursery that they get lots of coughs, colds and sniffles. Children often cough when they have a cold because mucus trickles down their throat. It can be upsetting to hear, but coughing helps clear away phlegm from the chest or throat. There is no cure for a cold or flu. It is normal for a child to have eight or more colds a year. There are some good things about this though as it helps the body build up a natural immune system.

Most bugs will run their course without doing any real harm because they will get better on their own, however there are things you can do at home to help:

  • Give your child lots to drink.
  • Try liquid Paracetamol or Ibuprofen (not Aspirin) if distressed.
  • Keep them away from smoke, do not let people smoke at home, around your child or come into contact with your child if they have recently smoked.
  • Keep calm – a cuddle goes a long way.
  • Talk to your Pharmacist but remember that coughing is the body’s way of keeping the lungs clear.

If your baby is under three months, or you are concerned, contact your GP.

If symptoms last for more than 72 hours or your child is coughing up yellow ‘goo’ they may have an infection. Contact your GP.

Don’t Pass it on

Catch it Germs spread easily. Always carry tissues and use them to catch coughs or sneezes.

Bin it Germs can live for several hours on tissues. Dispose of your tissue as soon as possible.

Kill it Hands can pass on germs to everything you touch. Clean your hands as soon as you can.

Children can also be treated using over-the-counter painkillers to help reduce their distress and discomfort. Liquid Paracetamol can help. Check the label carefully and always read and follow the instructions on the box carefully.

Always check with your Pharmacist if you are not sure which treatments you can give your child and check the correct dose.

Paracetamol – liquid Paracetamol can be given for pain or fever to children. Check you have the right product, dose and strength for your child’s age. Read the box carefully.

Ibuprofen – children’s liquid Ibuprofen can be given to children of 3 months and over as long as they weigh more than 5kg. Read the box carefully. Please note, if your child has been diagnosed with Asthma, Ibuprofen is not recommended.

Aspirin – do not use for children (source: DoH Birth to five edition 2009).