Visit our foundation to give a gift.
View Locations Near Me
Main Campus – Hartford
Connecticut Children’s – Waterbury
Urgent Care – Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Danbury
Connecticut Children’s Surgery Center at Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Fairfield
Search All Locations
Find a doctor
Find A Doctor
Request an Appointment
Amenities and Services
Who’s Who on Care Team
Getting Ready for Surgery
What to Expect—Picture Stories
Pay a Bill
Understanding the Different Fees
Pricing Transparency and Estimates
United Technologies Family Resource Center
Family Advisory Council
Legal Advocacy: Benefits, Education, Housing
Electronic Health Records
Share Your Story
Pay a Bill
Login to MyChart
Clinical Support Services Referrals
About the Network
Join the Network
Graduate Medical Education
Continuing Medical Education
MOC/Practice Quality Improvement
Educating Practices in the Community (EPIC)
Learning & Performance
Meet our Physician Relations Team
Request Medical Records
Join our Referring Provider Advisory Board
View our Physician Callback Standards
Read & Subscribe to Medical News
Register for Email Updates
Update Your Practice Information
Refer a Patient
Find and Print Health Info
Health Information For Kids
You wake up in a cranky mood. Your head hurts. You don’t have the energy to even get out of bed. And you can’t breathe out of your nose. What’s wrong? You may have a cold!
A cold is an infection of the upper respiratory system. This just means it can affect the nose, throat, and sinuses. A cold virus gets inside your body and makes you sick. The rhinovirus (say: rye-no-VYE-rus) is the most common cold virus, but more than 200 viruses can cause colds. Because there are so many, there isn’t a vaccination, or shot, to prevent you from getting colds.
Fortunately, your body already has the best cold cure — your immune system. The immune system defends your body against illness. White blood cells are the immune system’s main warriors. They’re your own private army working to help you feel better. Take that, cold viruses!
Mucus (say: MYOO-kus) is wet, slimy stuff inside the nose, mouth, and throat. When someone sneezes or coughs, mucus drops float in the air. Breathing in these droplets can spread a cold from one person to another.
You also can catch a cold if you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth after handling something with cold viruses on it. Video games, the doors at the mall, and your school desk are all hot spots for viruses. So be sure to wash your hands regularly.
You sneeze because your nerves detect the irritation in your nose and get the lungs to push a blast of air out through your nose and mouth. A sneeze can travel at more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) an hour — faster than a car travels on the road, unless you’re at a racetrack!
Symptoms (say: SIMP-tumz) are signs or clues that tell doctors you’re sick. Once you’ve been in contact with a cold virus, it takes 2 to 3 days for cold symptoms to begin. You may have some of these symptoms with a cold:
Having a cold is the #1 reason kids visit the doctor and stay home from school. Kids can get six to 10 colds per year with each cold lasting an average of 7 to 14 days.
Here are some feel-better tips if you get a cold:
What are fevers? Why do kids get them? Get the facts on temperatures and fevers in this article for kids.
Sinuses are hollow spaces in your head that can fill with mucus when you’re all stuffed up. Find out more in this article for kids.
You know they can hurt you, but what are these invisible creatures? Find out in this article for kids.
If you just sneezed, something was probably irritating or tickling the inside of your nose. Learn more about why you sneeze in this article for kids.
You may have heard the old joke: If your nose is running and your feet smell, you must be upside down! But did you ever wonder why your nose runs?
There’s a good reason your parent tells you to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough!
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2020 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved.
Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.