How Long Do Colds Last?

8th Oct 2017


We’re often asked: “My Child Has a Cold, How Long Will it Last?”

Sadly, the answer to that question is, “A lot longer than you think, and there is very little that you can do about it.”

These things won’t speed recovery: Vitamin C, orange juice, cold medicines, or antibiotics.

Extra rest and plenty fluids might.


Here is a graph showing how long cold symptoms last:

Notice that at 10-14 days nearly a third of patients still have cough and congestion. In fact studies show that many kids are still coughing from a cold virus after 3 weeks.  

In  Fall and Winter kids average about  8 colds per year. That means that there is nothing to prevent a new cold from starting up just as the old one is ending.  Lingering cough and congestion along with green mucous DO NOT mean that an antibiotic is needed or helpful.

Call us if your child is:

  • Less than 3 months and has a fever over 100.3 or is too congested to feed,
  • Looks very ill or listless,
  • Is breathing rapidly or pulling under the rib cage with breathing,
  • Has a fever over 101 which lasts more than 4 days or develops after the first 5 days of cold symptoms,
  • Is generally getting worse rather than better after the first week of cold symptoms.


About Us

Welcome to Hyde Park Pediatrics, recognized by Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP) as one of the top pediatric practices in the region. Our entire team, from our doctors to our nurses to our care coordinators to our administrative staff, are highly accomplished and compassionate professionals who are firmly committed to our patients and their families.

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Contact Details

695 Truman Pkwy
Hyde Park MA, 02136

100 Highland Ave
Milton, MA 02186

Phone: 617-361-1470

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