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Flu And Cold In Children – Causes And Treatment Explained


Tina had been suffering from a congested nose for a few days. She was not able to get enough sleep because of that. Besides, she had a fever. All of these made her parents think that it was pneumonia. So they went to visit a paediatrician.

The paediatrician ran some tests on her. The reports confirmed that Tina did not get pneumonia. The paediatrician said that it was a cold and cough. It is also known as flu. Then the paediatrician prescribed some medicines. In addition, advised some methods to cure the flu. Tina’s parents followed everything as said. After a few days, Tina got better. Now she is completely fine.

About cold and cough

The flu or cold and cough is very common ailment for children. Children under age 6 are more vulnerable to this illness. They can catch this infection during winter and fall. The cold symptoms may have similarities with the signs of pneumonia. But this cold and cough is not that much dangerous.

Common signs and symptoms of cold

Signs and symptoms of colds may vary from one child to another. Usually, these flu symptoms start to appear after 1-3 days of getting in touch with the virus. They can last for one week. At times, it can be two weeks. The signs and symptoms for babies are-

  1. Fussiness
  2. Congested nose
  3. Fever
  4. Difficulties in sleeping
  5. Vomiting and diarrhoea (sometimes)


Apart from these, other children may suffer from the following issues.

  1. Sore throat
  2. Chills
  3. Sneezing
  4. Mild hacking cough
  5. Watery eyes
  6. Headaches
  7. Pain in the muscles and bones
  8. Fatigue


Possible ways of getting infected

Most of the cold is caused by rhinoviruses. It occurs when the lining of the nose and throat gets irritated by this virus. This rhinovirus can be transmitted through the air or directly. Here’s how a child can get infected.

  • Through the air: When an infected person coughs or sneezes, some of the viruses get released into the air. And if a child breathes in that air, they go inside the nose. They get stuck to the nasal membrane. Then the child gets cough and cold.
  • Through direct contact: If a child touches an infected person, it catches the flu. Children touch their mouth and nose very frequently. That is why it is easy to catch the infection. The rhinovirus can be transmitted through objects too. Therefore, when an infected person touches a child’s toys or things, the child can be effected through them.

Treatment of flu or cold in children

The signs and symptoms may look like pneumonia. But there are certain differences between cold and cough and pneumonia. However, the treatment of cold is easier than pneumonia. There is medicine for cough and cold that helps to cure the flu. But in most cases, doctors may prescribe a homemade remedy for a runny nose at first. However, here are some ways to help the cold get better.

  1. Children should be given enough fluids (water, electrolyte solutions, apple juice, or hot soups) to prevent children from dehydration.
  2. Children should be kept away from the smoke of tobacco. The smoke can make the nose and throat irritation worse.
  3. In case of a congested nose, children should be given saline nasal sprays.
  4. It is necessary to discuss all over-the-counter (OTC) products with a child’s healthcare provider before giving OTC cough and cold medicines to the child.


Things to keep in mind

There are certain things to be remembered. Otherwise, adverse effects would start to appear.

  1. Children under age 19 should not be given aspirin without consulting the healthcare provider.
  2. Ibuprofen should not be given to children under the age of six months.
  3. Children should be kept at home for at least 24 hours after being fever-free.



The symptoms of cold and cough and pneumonia may appear the same. But there are subtle differences. Some basic tests can differentiate pneumonia from the flu or cold. The flu is a common illness in children. It is nothing serious. Proper care and treatment can cure it at ease.


Can cold and cough turn into pneumonia in children?

A cold and cough and pneumonia are two different kinds of ailments. Their symptoms are similar. Different germs cause them. Viruses generate a cold and cough. Both bacteria and viruses cause pneumonia. If a child with a cold gets affected by the pneumonia germs, the cold can only be turned into pneumonia.

Can flu be treated at home?

Yes, the flu or cold can be treated at home easily. There are plenty of homemade remedies to deal with the flu. They can help to ease out the signs and symptoms. However, in some cases consulting a doctor becomes necessary. Intake of any medicine without prescription should be avoided.

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