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My Child's Health  >>  Common Cold

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In this video, Dr. Huntoon discusses Sinusitis and what you need to know about the underlying cause and how it relates to your child's long term health.

Listen to our radio show on How To Raise A Healthy Child or scroll down to read the full article.

When you are ready to make healthy choices regarding your child, instead of the endless prescription medication that lead to chronic health concerns, we are here for you.

Dr. Huntoon is ready when you are.

To Request an Action Plan to Address Common Cold Click Here

Common Cold

Bringing sniffles and sneezes and perhaps a sore throat and annoying cough, the common cold catches all of us from time to time.

With kids getting as many as eight colds per year or more, this contagious viral infection of the upper respiratory tract is the most common infectious disease in the United States and the No. 1 reason kids visit the doctor and stay home from school.



Most colds are caused by rhinoviruses that are in invisible droplets in the air we breathe or on things we touch. More than 100 different rhinoviruses can infiltrate the protective lining of the nose and throat, triggering an immune system reaction that can cause a sore throat and headache, and make it hard to breathe through the nose.

Air that's dry — indoors or out — can lower resistance to infection by the viruses that cause colds. And so can being a smoker or being around someone who's smoking. People who smoke are more likely to catch a cold than people who don't — and their symptoms will probably be worse, last longer, and are more likely to lead to bronchitis or even pneumonia.

But despite what old wives' tales may have you believe, not wearing a jacket or sweater when it's chilly, sitting or sleeping in a draft, and going outside while your hair's wet do not cause colds directly. They can create stress to the system which can result in immune system dysfunction which can lead to a person being affected by the viruses that cause a cold.

Signs and Tests

Signs and symptoms

The first symptoms of a cold are often

  • a tickle in the throat,
  • a runny or stuffy nose, and
  • sneezing.

Kids with colds may also have

  • a sore throat,
  • cough,
  • headache,
  • mild fever,
  • fatigue,
  • muscle aches, and
  • loss of appetite.
  • Nasal discharge may change from
    • watery to
    • thick yellow or
    • green.

Traditional Medical Treatment Options

The Medical Perspective

"Time cures all." That may not always be true, but in the case of the common cold, it's pretty close. 

Medicine can't cure the common cold,

but it can be used to relieve such symptoms as

  • muscle aches,
  • headache, and
  • fever.

You can give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen based on the package recommendations for age or weight.

However, aspirin should never be given to children younger than 12, and all kids and teens under age 19 shouldn't take aspirin during viral illnesses, because such use may increase the risk of developing Reye syndrome, a rare but serious condition that can be fatal.

Although you may be tempted to give your child over-the-counter (OTC) decongestants and antihistamines to try to ease the cold symptoms, there's little or no evidence to support that they actually work.

In fact, OTC decongestants can cause hallucinations, irritability, and irregular heartbeats in infants and shouldn't be used in children younger than 2 without first consulting a doctor.


Colds are most contagious during the first 2 to 4 days after symptoms appear, and may be contagious for up to 3 weeks. You can catch a cold from person-to-person contact or by breathing in virus particles spread through the air by sneezing or coughing. Touching the mouth or nose after touching skin or another surface contaminated with a rhinovirus can also spread a cold.


Because so many viruses cause them, there isn't a vaccine that can protect against catching colds. But to help prevent them, kids should:

  • try to steer clear of anyone who smokes or who has a cold. Virus particles can travel up to 12 feet through the air when someone with a cold coughs or sneezes, and secondhand smoke can make your child more likely to get sick.
  • wash their hands thoroughly and frequently, especially after blowing their noses
  • cover their noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing (have them sneeze or cough into a shirtsleeve, though, not their hands — this helps prevent the spread of germs)
  • do not use the same towels or eating utensils as someone who has a cold. They also shouldn't drink from the same glass, can, or bottle as anyone else — you never know who might be about to come down with a cold and is already spreading the virus.
  • do not pick up other people's used tissues

Medicines Two Choices for You

Dr. Huntoon's Alternative Medical Treatment Options

Alternative to Medicine

Dr. Huntoon has been doing this with great success for over 27 years.

The Alternative Perspective

Working with a Holistic Chiropractor can offer benefits, as using a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to address all the imbalances within the child and help to strengthen their immune system. This has demonstrated positive results when sticking to a well thought-out treatment plan. Discussing what is involved and the time commitment necessary to having a full recovery is warranted.

Acupuncture, Homeopathy or Naturopathy have also had great results as conservative treatment for children with colds.

Researchers aren't sure whether taking extra zinc or vitamin C can limit how long cold symptoms last or how severe they become, but large doses taken every day can cause negative side effects.

The results of most studies on the value of herbal remedies, such as echinacea, are inconclusive, and few properly designed scientific studies of these treatments have been done in kids.

What to Discuss with Your Doctor

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Your Solution

Your Solution

Talk to your Holistic Chiropractor before you decide to give your child any herbal remedy or more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of any vitamin or supplement.


Cold symptoms usually appear 2 or 3 days after exposure to a source of infection. Most colds clear up within 1 week, but some last for as long as 2 weeks.


Working with a Holistic Chiropractor will offer benefits, as using a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to address all the imbalances within your child will help to strengthen their immune system. This has demonstrated positive results when sticking to a well thought-out treatment plan. Discussing what is involved and the time commitment necessary to strengthen your child’s immune system is warranted.

Acupuncture, Homeopathy or Naturopathy have also had great results as conservative treatment for children with colds.

Some ways you can help ease cold discomfort include:

  • saltwater drops in the nostrils to relieve nasal congestion (you can buy these — also called saline nose drops — at any pharmacy)
  • taking fenugreek seed powder on an empty stomach with a big glass of water is excellent to clear nasal congestion.
  • a cool-mist humidifier to increase air moisture
  • petroleum jelly on the skin under the nose to soothe rawness
  • hard candy or cough drops to relieve sore throat (for kids older than 3 years)
  • a warm bath to soothe aches and pains
  • steam from a hot shower to help your child breathe more easily

But what about chicken soup?

There's no real proof that eating it can cure a cold, but sick people have been swearing by it for more than 800 years.


Chicken soup contains a mucus-thinning amino acid called cysteine, and some research shows that chicken soup helps control congestion-causing white cells, called neutrophils.

The best plan, though, is not to worry about whether to "feed a cold" or "starve a fever." Just make sure your child eats when hungry and drinks plenty of water to help replace the fluids lost during fever or mucus production. Avoid serving sugary or caffeinated beverages, though, which can cause frequent urination and, therefore, increase the risk of dehydration.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your Holistic Chiropractor to get in for a chiropractic adjustment. The adjustment will boost the immune system and allow for a better immune response to the virus. Each spinal adjustment increases the T-helper cells, the first cells used to remove an infection. Proper nutritional support will go a long way toward arresting and preventing colds from becoming chronic.

Your doctor won't be able to identify the specific virus causing cold symptoms, but can examine your child's throat and ears and take a throat culture to make sure the symptoms aren't from another condition that may need specific treatment. (If your child's symptoms get worse instead of better after 3 days or so, the problem could be strep throat, sinusitis, pneumonia, or bronchitis, especially if your child or teen smokes.)

Taking a throat culture is a simple, painless procedure that involves brushing the inside of the throat with a long cotton swab. Examining the germs that stick to the swab will help the doctor determine whether your child has strep throat and needs treatment with antibiotics.

If symptoms last for more than a week, appear at the same time every year, or occur when your child is exposed to pollen, dust, animals, or another substance, your child could have an allergy.  A child who has trouble breathing or wheezes when he or she catches a cold could have asthma.

Also see your doctor if you think your child might have more than a cold or is getting worse instead of better.

Call the doctor if your child has any of these symptoms:

  • coughing up a lot of mucus
  • shortness of breath
  • unusual lethargy/tiredness
  • inability to keep food or liquids down or poor fluid intake
  • increasing headache or facial or throat pain
  • severely painful sore throat that interferes with swallowing
  • fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.3° Celsius) or higher, or a fever of 101° F (38.0° C) or higher that lasts for more than a day
  • chest or stomach pain
  • swollen glands (lymph nodes) in the neck
  • earache

Like most virus infections, colds just have to run their course.

  • Getting plenty of rest,
  • avoiding vigorous activity, and
  • drinking lots of fluids — water, and non-caffeinated beverages — all may help your child feel better while on the mend.

Keeping up regular activities like going to school probably won't make a cold any worse. But it will increase the likelihood that the cold will spread to classmates or friends.

So you might want to put some daily routines aside until your child is feeling better.

When Your Health Matters

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