Sister Clara Muhammad Health and Wellness Center Sister Clara Muhammad
Health & Wellness Center
Colds Colds Colds

Colds are caused by a viral infection of the body. There are a great number of such viruses--probably several hundred different varieties. Immunity to these viruses develops as the child is infected with them. As a child gets older, colds then become less frequent. Infants and young children may seem to have a cold almost constantly in the spring, fall, and winter months. Actually, they are infected by a number of separate viruses in succession. These infections are passed by direct contact and caused by being close to a person who has a cold, or is carrying the cold virus, in a crowded, poorly ventilated room. Exposure to cold weather, wearing insufficient clothing, and having wet feet do not cause a cold.

The common cold is a frequent infection of the young child involving the nose, throat, upper breathing passageways and eyes. ColdsIt characteristically begins with sneezing and stuffy nose, with red, watery eyes, frequently progressing to cough. You may hear a "rattling" or a vibration can be felt in the upper airway down to the chest. The throat feels full and raw, swallowing is difficult, particularly in babies who cannot breathe through their noses while sucking, requiring your assistance. Appetite and activity may diminish at the onset of the cold and should resume a few days into the cold. Fever may or not be present. Headache and body-aches are common at the onset as well.

There is no cure for the common cold. Generally, colds last between 10-14 days regardless of whether they are treated or not. Treatment of a cold should have the goal of making the child more comfortable and preventing further complications or the spread to other family members. Staying at home and resting quietly in the early stages will lessen coughing and runny nose as well as prevent the spread to others, and is always recommended. Increasing the intake of clear fluids will ease throat discomfort and keep secretions moist. Avoid medications if possible, especially multi-symptom medications. If you are using medications, treat only the symptoms the child has. Rather than spraying or dropping medicine in the nose, decongestants are best taken by mouth. They should be used intermittently at sleeping or feeding times. Remember that they will not cure or prevent colds, but merely make the child more comfortable. Infants less than 6 months of age can be given Normal Saline (salt water) nose drops off and on to relieve the stuffy nose and to liquefy throat secretions which may have thickened and collected. Follow this with the use of a bulb syringe to pull out liquefied secretions. These drops should be used before meals and at bedtime and naptime. The use of medications commonly used to treat the common cold in children less than 6 months of age should not be used without a discussion with your health care provider. A vaporizer or preferably a cold humidifier is effective in relieving stuffy noses and coughing, while the child is sleeping. You should elevate the head of the bed for the child. For infants, the crib mattress can be adjusted so that the head is slightly higher or you can put a pillow, etc., under the head of the mattress. For an older child, a pillow or folded blanket under the head of the mattress will do very nicely, or, if the child normally uses a pillow, give them an extra one or two pillows. Mentholated rubs are of little value, may be irritating to the skin, and are not recommended. However, they are widely used, and may be recommended by your family and friends. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen may be used for treating fever and for relieving pain and discomfort. ColdsNEVER USE ASPIRIN OR ASPIRIN CONTAINING PRODUCTS FOR CHILDREN WHEN THEY ARE ILL. These medications have been found to be a factor in the presentation of REYES SYNDROME in children up to the age of young adulthood. School age children ideally may return to school when symptoms have subsided enough for children to feel like participating in school activities. Fever should be gone (for 24 hrs.) and coughing subsided.


1. Earache, particularly if accompanied by fever which persists more than a few hours.

2. Severe sore throat accompanied by persistent fever.

3. Rapid (more than 40 breaths per minute) or labored respiration's with or without fever.

4. Extreme lethargy, complete loss of appetite for a longer period of time.

5. Pallor and cold sweats.

Your health care provider should be contacted if the above symptoms develop or if you have any question regarding the seriousness of your child's illness.

At present, there is no effective shot to provide immunity to colds.

The "flu shots" currently available are not recommended for normal healthy children and provide immunity for a small group of viruses thought to be more prevalent in a given year, but not the "common cold". Hopefully, such immunization will be available in the future. There is no vitamin (including vitamin C, even in large doses) which increases resistance to colds or hastens recovery. Fresh air (even in winter), exercise, proper diet and rest -- avoiding crowds and following the rules of personal hygiene will aid the natural immune mechanisms in preventing colds.

The use of antibiotics will not change or decrease the symptoms or the length of the common cold. In fact, the use of antibiotics, in an attempt to treat any illness for which they are not necessary, can result in serious problems later on. Frequent exposure of germs (bacteria) to the use of the antibiotics can cause those germs (bacteria) to develop immunity to some of those antibiotics. This can mean when you do have an infection, and antibiotics are necessary, the more common ones may prove to be ineffective, causing you not to get well easily.

This site is not meant to be a substitute for regular visits to your Health Care Provider, nor should it take the place of their advice. However, it is one other source of information for you and your family. It is advised that you see your Health Care Provider for the evaluation and treatment of illness. The links from this site may contain information that is not in line with the teachings of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and His Followers, the members of the Seventh Family of The Nation of Islam. Unnatural birth control and abortion are never condoned.
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