The common cold is an acute (short-term) viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that may be spread through the air (by sneezing, for example) or by contact with contaminated objects.
A note about children’s cold medicine:
Concerns in the news about the safety of cough and cold medicines have left many parents confused about the safest ways to treat their children’s cold symptoms. At a hearing, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that, until more research shows safety and efficacy, these medicines should not be given to children under two years old unless instructed by a healthcare provider. For parents who may want to continue giving over-the-counter cold medicines to their children, the FDA has the following recommendations:
- Read all of the information in the “Drug Facts” box on the product label.
- Do not give children medicine more often or in greater amounts than what is listed on the product label and use only as directed.
- Do not give children medication that is intended for adult use.
- Be aware that using various cough and cold medicines in combination may pose health risks; parents should ask a doctor whether or not it is safe to use products in combination.
- Use appropriate measuring devices; parents should contact their doctor or pharmacist if they do not understand the dosing directions.