Cold symptoms to watch for in children

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When kids get sick, they're poor communicators. If your little one is complaining that he doesn't feel...

When kids get sick, they're poor communicators. If your little one is complaining that he doesn't feel good, it's time to look for cold symptoms. Here's what to watch for.

1. Look at his face. Are his nose and cheeks red from coughing? The rest of his skin might seem slightly pale from not feeling well. Look for signs of a drippy nose: crust under the nose, runny discharge or wet stains on his shirt from the drips. Help the child blow his nose, or clear away excess mucus and snot for toddlers and infants using a bulb aspirator.

2. Watch his diet. A sore throat often accompanies other cold symptoms. If your little one is refusing to eat his favorite crunchy or hard treats--such as cookies, chips or vegetable sticks--he may have a sore throat. Offer him smooth foods until you can get to the doctor. Pudding, ice cream, unheated soup and slightly warmed mashed potatoes are good options.

3. Listen to his voice. If he sounds raspy or quieter than normal, the sore throat may be increasing in intensity. Offer your little one children's throat-soothing lollipops and cold drinks such as juice or flavored water to coat his sore throat.

4. Take his temperature. Use a children's thermometer to see if your child has a fever. If your little one's temperature is slowly increasing, it's time to head to the doctor's office. Call an Atlanta-area doctor to treat older children or a pediatrician for youths under the age of 18. Colds can be contagious for the first two to four days after you notice symptoms.

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