1. Antibiotics

Antibiotics are used for treating bacterial infections and are ineffective against the viruses that cause colds or the flu.

Taking antibiotics when we don't need them makes them less effective in the long run because the bacteria become resistant to the antibiotic, which could result in them not working for your child in the future.

2. Cold medicine

Over the counter cough and cold medicine for kids, including decongestant tablets and nasal sprays, are not recommended for use in children under six years of age.

If your child is older than six, talk to your pharmacist or doctor before giving them cold medicines.

3. Cough Remedies

Most coughs are caused by a cold or flu. Other causes can include excess mucus dripping down their throat from the back of the nose and allergies, for example, hay fever. Although it may be unpleasant to listen to, coughing has an important purpose: it helps to clear mucus from your child’s airway.

Cough medicines for children are not recommended for little ones under the age of 6 years old. If your child is older than 6 years old, talk to your pharmacist or doctor before giving them cough medicines. If your child has a high temperature, pain or discomfort, children's ibuprofen or paracetamol can help. Children with asthma may not be able to take ibuprofen, so check with a pharmacist, GP or health visitor first. Always follow the instructions on the packet.

4. Echinacea

Echinacea, which is a herbal treatment, has traditionally been used with garlic for treating colds. However, recent scientific information shows that there is no proof that either of them are helpful for colds. Doctors also do not recommend echinacea for children younger than 12 years old, since there is a chance that it may cause an allergic reaction.

4 ways to help ease symptoms

  • Offer plenty of fluids.
  • Saline nose drops can help loosen dried snot and relieve a stuffy nose. Check with your pharmacist or doctor for more information.
  • Try children’s paracetamol or ibuprofen to help bring down fever and manage pain.
  • If your child is over the age of 1, try to offer them a warm drink made from honey and lemon.
  • Encourage the whole family to wash their hands regularly to stop the cold spreading.

Resting, drinking plenty of liquids, and choosing effective medicine to help with any pain, discomfort or fever, are appropriate relief options for your little one when they have a cold or flu.

Colds and flu can cause inconvenience and distress during winter and other times, but it’s normal for children to have 8 or more colds a year. Most colds clear up in 5 to 7 days, but in the meantime, you can help them by choosing treatments that can help relieve some of their symptoms.