Colds or Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)

A cold (upper respiratory infection or URI) describes symptoms of cough and nasal congestion caused by one of many viruses.  URI’s do often include a mild fever and aches the first several days.  URI’s last 1 to 2 weeks in children.  URI’s are caused by viruses and are not treated with antibiotics.


 During regular office hours if:

  • the cold lasts longer than 2 weeks
  • your child has a fever (100.5F or higher) for more than three days
  • symptoms worsen


We do not recommend cold or cough medication for children under 6 years of age because they have no proven benefit and may lead to heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats).

Children often do better with their colds if they have their head elevated during sleep.  For infants elevate the head of the crib, or allow the baby to sleep in a buckled car seat or bouncy chair.

Saline nose drops can be purchased or made to put in the baby’s nose to clear congestion.  Put in 2 or 3 drops, wait about 10 seconds, and then suction out the nose with a bulb syringe.  Saline nose drops can be made by dissolving ¼ teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water.

Avoid overuse of the bulb syringe. They can grow mold and repeated use can cause inflammation to the nose.

It may help to run a vaporizer or humidifier in the bedroom.

Vapor rubs are safe and may help nasal congestion.

Older children/adolescents may benefit from saline nasal irrigation or neti pots.

Call or Visit

  • phone: (616) 243-9515

  • FAX: (616) 243-1815

  • after hours: (616) 776-7401

  • or contact us via the Patient Portal

  • Alger Pediatrics
    733 Alger St. SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507