Understanding childrens' colds and flu symptoms

All children are likely to suffer from dreaded cold and flu at some point. In fact, due to their vulnerable immune systems, children can catch as many as seven to ten colds a year. Whilst there is no cure for the common cold, it can leave many parents feeling frustrated as they attempt to ease their baby’s’ distress.

Recurring colds in childhood is part of growing up and often happens when their body comes into contact with viruses for the first time. Even though the child may suffer from 'cold' symptoms, their body will be producing antibodies to these common infections which will stand them in good stead in later years.

TV presenter and GP, Dr Hilary Jones, offers his expert advice on pain relief for children commenting: “Paracetamol has been around for a long time and many mums remember having it as a child themselves, however it’s not the only option. It is important parents understand ibuprofen can be just as effective in treating pain and fever symptoms in children. Plus, because ibuprofen also has anti-inflammatory properties, it can be very helpful for treating inflammation associated with conditions such as teething and earache.”

•             Mild fever
•             Runny nose
•             Sneezing
•             Sore throat
•             Cough
•             Tiredness

Symptoms usually last two to four days.

•             High fever (usually 39ºC or above)
•             Chills, headache
•             Intense muscle pains
•             Exhaustion
•             Loss of appetite
•             Cough and sometimes a blocked nose and sore throat

Symptoms can last a week or more and possible complications include pneumonia.


Dr Hilary Jones addresses some of the most common misconceptions about ibuprofen and paracetamol below, helping to give control back to parents so they feel more confident when giving relief for pain and fever in the future.

Paracetamol is more effective than ibuprofen at reducing fever
FALSE – Both paracetamol and ibuprofen are equally effective at reducing fever; however nothing works faster or for longer to relieve a fever than ibuprofen2,3.

Ibuprofen lasts longer than paracetamol in fever relief
TRUE – Ibuprofen is clinically proven to provide fever relief for up to 8 hours2.

Paracetamol is not as harsh as ibuprofen for infants and children
FALSE – Ibuprofen is gentle enough to use for children from 3 months and weighing over 5kg.4

Ibuprofen is an anti inflammatory
TRUE – Ibuprofen has anti-inflammatory properties and works to relieve inflammation caused by conditions such as teething and earache


Colds - Most colds don't need specific treatment other than pain relief and simple measures such as decongestant rubs or vaporisers. Antibiotics are of no benefit.

Flu - Children with flu can be given similar treatments, with lots of rest, medicine to bring down any fever and plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.


Try a children's medicine which offers pain relief, such as Nurofen for Children. It targets the source of discomfort and contains ibuprofen which has anti inflammatory properties. What's more, if your child is running a temperature, it can help bring down a fever in just 15 minutes and is gentle enough to use on babies 3 months and weighing over 5kg.  www.nurofenforchildren.co.uk

Available from pharmacists, supermarkets and Boots over the counter
Standard £3.99 | Baby £3.99 | sachets (x8) £3.11 | sachets (x16) £5.54
Strawberry and orange flavour sugar and colour free

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