Coughs and colds are extremely common in young children and tend to occur more frequently over the autumn and winter months. They are usually caused by an infection and most children get better by themselves. In general, antibiotics do not make them better more quickly. If they are finding it hard to breath or are too breathless to feed, they may need to be look after in hospital.
If you child has any of the following:
Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999
If your child has any of the following:
Please ring your GP surgery or call NHS 111 - dial 111
If none of the features in the red or amber boxes above are present.
Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, call NHS 111 – dial 111
Most children with coughs/colds do no require treatment with antibiotics. Antibiotics rarely speed up recovery and often cause side effects such as rash and diarrhoea. They will also promote the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria in your child.
If your child has a runny nose and breathing difficulties, it is most likely that they have a condition called bronchiolitis. Most children with bronchiolitis get better by themselves with no specific treatment. Bronchiolitis is caused by a viral illness, so antibiotics are not helpful.
Symptoms of bronchiolitis:
How long does bronchiolitis last?
It is not always easy to avoid catching these infections. However, good hygiene practices can prevent infections spreading
This guidance is written by healthcare professionals from across Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.