During the winter it becomes more common for us to see patients suffering from a cold or the flu (influenza). We can help them to feel better in terms of symptoms, or by protecting them against the flu by offering them a yearly vaccine, but there is unfortunately no cure for the common cold. Antibiotics can be used to fight bacterial infections, but they have no effect on viruses.
The best thing you can do is to help your child feel more comfortable, make sure they get more rest and that they drink water or other liquids. Your child’s doctor may want to see the child or ask you to keep a close eye on the child, let them know if you see no daily improvement or if they are still not better after a week. Use nasal drops with salt water or saline solution (1 or 2 drops in each nostril) or a nasal spray (1 or 2 sprays into each nostril). For babies, use a bulb syringe suction device to extract the drops of additional spray.
When using the bulb syringe suction device, remember to firstly squeeze the bulb syringe, inserting the rubber tip gently into the nostril and then releasing the bulb slowly.
This small amount of suction will remove the mucus which is blocking the nose and should help your child to breathe while suctioning once again. You will notice that this technique works better when your baby is less than 6 months old. As your child grows, they will resist the bulb syringe, making it more difficult for you to remove the mucus, but saline drops will continue to help.
If there are any warning signs, persistent high fever of 38-42 degrees centigrade, difficulty breathing, blue lips or nails, or illness in general, visit the ER immediately.
Dr. Laura Elena Castañeda Ramírez.
Pediatrician, breastfeeding and perinatal mental health consultant.
Head of Pediatric Medicine, Hospiten Cabo San Lucas .