Managing Colds and Cough in Children – Nurse, Nurse Practitioner
Children often suffer from viral upper respiratory infections or “the common cold,” with symptoms of congestion, rhinorrhea (runny nose), cough and fever. Children typically experience 3 to 8 colds per year. Colds have a substantial impact on school attendance, resulting in an estimated 189 million days of absence each year. Considering children and adults together, colds account for $17 billion in direct medical costs and $22.5 billion in indirect costs (including absenteeism and missed caregiver work days) annually in the US. Colds are usually self-limiting, but non-drug measures and over-the-counter (OTC) medications may relieve bothersome symptoms. Although many OTC medications are recognized as safe and effective in the FDA's OTC monograph, clinical trial evidence in pediatric patients is often limited. In 2001, concerns escalated about serious adverse effects and deaths among infants and young children related to cough and cold medications. These reports led to a 2008 decision by the FDA to provide guidance that cough and cold products should be avoided in children under the age of 2 years.