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Treating the Common Cold in Children

Your child's throat may be sore from mucous dripping down the back of the throat. In that case, treating the stuffy nose may make the throat feel better. Sometimes, the throat is irritated from the virus itself. There are things you can do to make your child's throat feel better:

  • Give your child lots of liquids to soothe the throat and stay well hydrated. Cool liquids such as cool juice may feel best on a sore throat. Popsicles can be helpful, too.

  • Cough drops or sore throat lozenges that contain menthol feel cool and can make the throat feel better. Hard candies and lollipops often work just as well. However, cough drops and hard candies should only be given to children over age four because younger children could choke on them.

  • Herbal cough drops (or tea) made with horehound, licorice root or slippery elm bark can be soothing for a sore throat. Again, cough drops should never be given to children younger than four. Avoid any teas that contain caffeine, as they can lead to dehydration in sick children.

  • Older children may gargle with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8-16 ounces warm water), if they are able to do so.

  • Use a cool-mist vaporizer (humidifier) in your child's room, but make sure to clean it every few days according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Try acetaminophen or ibuprofen  for mild pain. Be sure to read dosage directions carefully.

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