Updated 03 March 2016

Colds and flu in children

Winter makes it more likely that your child will come home from school with a cold or even flu.


Young children’s immune systems aren’t fully developed so they tend to get infections more often than adults and older children.

Day-care centres and school are ideal breeding grounds for cold and flu germs, so it’s not uncommon for school children to have between six to ten colds per year.
Viral infections cause colds and flu and affect the nose, throat and airways.2,5 The symptoms are generally not serious and usually improve within 3 to 5 days, or a week at most.

Telltale signs of a cold are a scratchy or sore throat, sneezing, a runny nose and mild cough. Mucus from the nose is clear, but may become thicker and yellow-green later.5 An achy, painful body, headaches and aching around the eyes point to the flu. It is common to feel ill, weak and tired, and possibly have a dry cough, runny nose and fever.

Rest and using over-the-counter medications to treat the symptoms can go a long way to helping your child feel better.8 Ask your pharmacist about Adcock Ingram’s Dilinct Junior for treating coughs in children.9 

S0  Dilinct Junior Syrup. Each 10 ml contains Guaifenesin 200 mg. Reg. No. 33/10.1/0086.  For full prescribing information, refer to the package insert approved by the medicines regulatory authority. ZA.15.CFA.083 04/2015. Adcock Ingram Limited. Reg. No. 1949/034385/06 Private Bag X69, Bryanston, 2021, South Africa. 
Tel +27 11 635 0000. 


1. Introduction to Miscellaneous Infections in Infants and Children. The Merck Manual. [online] 2013, September. [cited] 2015, April 29.
2. Eccles R. Understanding the symptoms of the common cold and influenza. Lancet Infect Dis 2005;5:718–725
3. Shah SA, Sander S, White CM, Rinaldi M, Coleman CI. Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis 2007;7:473–480
4. Roxas M, Jurenka J. Colds and Influenza: A Review of Diagnosis and Conventional, Botanical, and Nutritional Considerations. Altern Med Rev 2007;12(1):25-48
5. Pray WC, JJ Pray. Is It a Cold, Influenza, or Pneumonia? US Pharmacist. 2004;29(1):1-5
6. World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal). Fact sheet No 211. World Health Organization [online] 2009. [cited 2015, April 29].
7. Centres For Disease Control And Prevention. Cold Versus Flu. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention [online] 2014. [cited 2015, April 29].
8. Centres For Disease Control And Prevention. Get Smart: Common Cold and Runny Nose. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention [online] 2013. [cited 2015, April 29].
9. Dilinct Junior Syrup package insert approved by the medicines regulatory authority (17 October 2000).


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Professor Keertan Dheda has received several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others. Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute.

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