Are colds caused by bacteria?

A: No. The common cold is caused by a virus–Rhinovirus to be specific. Within the Rhinovirus family there are about 100 different types.  Kids are the biggest pool of people to carry the Rhinovirus.

Q: How long does a cold really last?

A: It can last up to 10 days, but usually resolves after 5 to 7 days of symptoms.

Q: How many times a year can a kid get a cold?

A: The average adult experiences two to three colds per year, while children average 8 to 12 colds per year.

Q: What are typical cold-like symptoms?

A: Runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, mild cough. Adults and older kids can actually have Rhinovirus but without symptoms. Infants and younger children are usually more affected.

Q: So, when should my child be seen in a medical setting?

A: So just for the record–cold symptoms in ANY age are NOT a medical emergency. An emergency room is NOT the right place to go for cold symptoms. Children should be seen in the office if they have a fever greater than 100.4 degrees for more than 24 hours, have had symptoms more than 10 days continuously, or have a specific complaint of pain–like ear pain.

If your child is wheezing they need to be seen in the office as soon as possible. Wheezing is not just another cold symptom.