1. Antibiotics

Antibiotics are used for treating bacterial infections. However, they are ineffective against the viruses that cause colds and the flu, and they won’t help your child get better any faster.

Some people may believe that having green or yellow snot means that they do need an antibiotic. However, the colour of your child’s snot is due to an increased number of white blood cells and is simply an indication of how your body is fighting the infection – it doesn’t actually reveal whether the infection is viral or bacterial.

Taking antibiotics when we don't need them makes them less effective in the long run because the bacteria become resistant to the antibiotic.

2. Cold medicine

Cough and cold medicines 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 medicine

Irritation in their throat or lungs could be the cause of cough when your child has a cold. Although it may be unpleasant to listen to, coughing has an important purpose: it helps clear mucus from your child's airways.

Cough medicines aren’t useful for treating cough. Instead, consider giving your child a teaspoon of honey before bedtime – however, this is only appropriate for children over 12 months old.

4. Aspirin

It is not recommended to give a child or young person aspirin, as it can cause a rare side effect that can make them seriously sick. If you want to give your child pain or fever relief, use a medicine that’s suitable for kids instead, like Nurofen for Children. Nurofen for Children is suitable for children from 3 months of age, and it starts to reduce fever in just 15 minutes^ and lasts up to 8 hours*. Plus, it also helps relieve other symptoms of colds and flu includingheadaches, body aches & pains and sore throat.

5. Steam

Breathing in the steam from a bowl of hot water is a traditional treatment for colds believed to help with unblocking nasal passages. However, it's too easy for children to be burnt or scalded, so this should be avoided in children.

Now that you know what to avoid, here are some things you can try instead to help ease your child’s cold and flu symptoms:

  • Offer plenty of fluids regularly
  • Use a saltwater (saline) nasal spray or drops from your pharmacy
  • Make sure they get plenty of rest at home

These options are appropriate for your little one and will hopefully help them feel better as they recover from their cold!

FINAL 14 July 2021

AU Related Veeva Code: RB-M-04520

^Pelen et al 1998. *Autret-Leca et al 2007.