Children can’t use cold medicine? How should the cold be treated?

Many parents have read Ji Lianmei’s popular science article “Deadly Minefield of Children’s Cold Medicine” before they know that children under the age of 6 cannot take cold medicine casually. However, the problem arises again: If cold medicine cannot be used, how should the child be treated for catching a cold?

For people with less resistance, The symptoms of a cold usually occur 1-2 days after exposure to the virus. For children, Nose obstruction is the most obvious manifestation, During the first three days of illness, They often have clear, yellow or green nasal mucus (viral infection can cause yellow or green nasal mucus, which is not necessarily accompanied by bacterial infection) and fever (body temperature is higher than 38 ℃). Other manifestations may include sore throat, cough, anorexia, difficulty sleeping, red and swollen nasal cavity, and slightly swollen neck lymph nodes.

The treatment of colds in infants and children is different from that in adults. Various commonly used cold medicines: Antihistamines, antidotes, cough and phlegm-reducing drugs, whether single or prescription, have not been clearly proven to be helpful to infants and children, but have been found to have potential and dangerous side effects. Therefore, the FDA recommends that children under the age of 6 should not use these drugs.

Because a cold is a self-limiting disease, Even without treatment, It usually takes about a week, Therefore, the most important treatment for colds is symptomatic treatment. The aim is to make children feel less uncomfortable, It is not to prevent the disease from getting worse or to cure the cold faster. Some people think that they should take medicine as soon as they have symptoms of a cold, [nip the cold in the bud], which is also incorrect. Only when the symptoms annoy the child, such as affecting sleep, drinking water or eating, and feel uncomfortable, can symptomatic treatment be required.

The following is a talk about symptomatic treatment according to specific symptoms.


If fever makes children uncomfortable, you can take antipyretic and analgesic drugs such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen orally.

When taking medicine, please refer to the weight dose ratio in the instructions to take medicine. For example, how many kilograms of body weight should be taken in how many doses, instead of taking the medicine according to the age dosage proportion. Most cold compound preparations will have antipyretic ingredients. If you take antipyretic alone, it is easy to cause drug overdose. Therefore, it is still emphasized that cold medicine is not recommended casually.

Runny nose and nasal obstruction

Humidifiers will make children with colds more fortable.

Nose congestion may affect sleep and eating, It is often the most annoying symptom for infants and young children. Use a nasal aspirator to remove nasal mucus, use nasal drops or nasal saline spray (older children can wash their noses with nasal saline), drink enough water (enough is enough), Don’t drink too much), inhale cold steam (you can use a humidifier), these methods are safe and may improve symptoms. Nasal congestion is more obvious when lying down. If the baby sleeps uneasily due to nasal congestion, temporarily holding it up may make the baby feel more comfortable.

In addition, when the indoor humidity is between 40% and 60%, People feel most comfortable, Moreover, such humidity is not conducive to the survival of the virus, It can reduce the amount of viruses in the air and on the surface of articles. If someone has a cold, maintaining this humidity indoors can help relieve nasal congestion and cough, and can also help reduce the spread of colds. If using a humidifier, please follow the instructions to clean the humidifier, because humid humidification trays are prone to bacteria and mold.


Cough may affect children’s sleep, play and school. Parents often try to control cough, which is actually a physiological reflex caused by airway stimulation and can remove respiratory secretions. Suppressing cough may instead cause secretions to retain in the airway, with the potential risk of airway obstruction.

If the cough is serious or lasts longer than expected (for example, it has not improved or even worsened after more than 2 weeks), you should not find ways to control the cough at this time, but should first see a doctor to find out the cause of the cough.

Replenish water appropriately, drink warm liquids (such as hot water and chicken soup), take half a spoon or a small spoon (2.5 ~ 5ml) of honey orally before going to bed (only for children over 1 year old), hard candy (only for children over 3 years old), And when there is no risk of inhaling sugar into the airway), increasing air humidity (using humidifiers) can help reduce throat irritation and keep respiratory tract moist, which may be helpful for relieving cough.

Can’t cough with phlegm

There is a layer of mucus on the surface of our respiratory tract, To keep the respiratory tract moist and adhere to small foreign body particles. Without this layer of mucus, the respiratory tract will lose protection, become dry and vulnerable. When the respiratory tract is infected, mucus secretion may increase, and mucus spit out or swallowed by children through coughing into the mouth is called phlegm. This process helps clean up the respiratory tract.

When children have phlegm, parents often want to use some [expectorant] or [expectorant]. In fact, such drugs do not make phlegm disappear, but make phlegm thinner and easy to cough up.

If you feel that your child cannot cough up phlegm, drinking enough water, inhaling cold steam, eating honey (only for children over 1 year old) or hard candy (only for children over 3 years old, and there is no risk of inhaling sugar into the airway) may help dilute sputum.

Phlegm usually does not increase significantly when catching a cold. If the child has a lot of phlegm, he needs to ask a doctor to find out the possible reason.

Sore throat

Obvious sore throat will affect children’s swallowing saliva and eating, and may also indicate other diseases, such as bacterial infection, requiring a doctor.

Generally speaking, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be taken orally for moderate to severe sore throat.

Saline mouthwash is a safe and ancient method to relieve sore throat. The formula can be 240 milliliters of warm water plus 1/4 ~ 1/2 small spoons of salt, but children under 6 ~ 8 years old generally cannot rinse correctly and are difficult to operate.

Sucking hard candy (such as lollipop) can relieve sore throat, and some studies have found that the effect is similar to that of anesthetic throat spray.

Drinking cold drinks, eating ice cream and popsicles are also safe ways to relieve children’s sore throat.

Cold is a kind of disease that can be cured by oneself. What parents need to do is: take no time to panic and treat the disease according to the above methods to make their children feel more comfortable; Carefully observe whether there are any other worrying situations; Take measures to prevent colds at ordinary times.

Children are troubled by colds and look miserable. Not giving them drugs will make parents feel uneasy and seem to be sorry for their children. But in fact, resisting this pressure and not allowing children to use some harmful and useless drugs is the real love for children.

Editor: Xiaoyan

Author: Zhong Le

The article was reprinted by Clove Garden authorized by the author.