Young children get colds quite often because their immune system is still developing1. It can be worrying when your child gets a cold, but it's not usually serious and normally passes within two weeks. Children tend to get colds far more often than adults. Colds aren't usually serious, although young children are at an increased risk of developing further problems, such as ear infections. Very occasionally, more serious problems such as pneumonia can develop, so it's important to keep a close eye on your child. The symptoms are generally similar in adults and children, including:
- a blocked or runny nose,
- a high temperature (fever).
WHEN SHOULD I SEE A DOCTOR?
You should seek medical advice if:
- Your child is under three months old and has a temperature of 38 °C or above, or is between three and six months old and has a temperature of 39 °C or above.
- Their symptoms last more than three weeks.
- They seem to be getting worse rather than better.
- They have chest pain or are coughing up bloodstained phlegm – this could be a sign of a bacterial chest infection that needs treatment with antibiotics.
- They're finding it difficult to breathe – seek medical help immediately from your GP surgery or local hospital.
- They have, or seem to have, severe earache (babies with earache often rub their ears and seem irritable) as they could have an ear infection that may need antibiotic treatment.
- They have a persistent or severe sore throat – they may have bacterial tonsillitis, which needs antibiotic treatment.
- They develop any other worrying symptoms.
Speak to your pharmacist or GP for advice if you're not sure how to look after your children or what medications are suitable for them to take.