One of the commonest illnesses besetting children is a common cold.
A cold is an upper respiratory infection caused mostly by a viral infection. It is easily spread and although it can be transmitted at any time in the calendar, it is usually commoner in colder seasons. Colds are spread by exposure to virus-filled droplets from an infected person through a sneeze or a cough and even through contact with infected surfaces. An infected child may suffer from symptoms for up to 2weeks although symptoms usually dissipate in 7- 10 days
As a cold is mostly caused by a virus, it is not directly treatable also antibiotics are not effective in its treatment. As no vaccines or cure are available in treating common colds, relieve is usually prescribed with medications that help ease symptoms.
Symptoms of a cold and some remedies can be initiated in children include:
A runny nose or stuffy nose
For a runny nose or sniffles, a saltwater nose drop can help slow the drip.
A Sore throat can be treated with sweet lozenges if the child is old enough to suck or even popsicles. Gargling with salt water will also help relieve soreness. Throat drops can also be helpful
A stuffy nose can be helped with a steamy shower or a cool-mist humidifier. Also, good old chicken soup can come in useful here.
A headache, Mild fatigue and/or body ache
For headaches, aches and pains using common painkillers are helpful, acetaminophen (Panadol/Tylenol) or ibuprofen can be administered to a child over the age of 6months.
For a cough, if older than one year old, you can give a teaspoon of honey. Honey is not to be given to infants less than a year old because of infant botulism. Except a cough causes difficulty breathing or difficulty sleeping it is better left alone as this clears up by itself. Humidifiers vaporizers and steam can also be helpful.
Ensure your child stays hydrated and gets enough rest because this helps the immune system fight off the infection.
It is often advised by doctors not to use cold and cough medicines except a child are older than 4 years old or as some others believe 6 years of age. Whatever you do concerning the cause of treatment for your child, always seek medical advice first.
Often a cold can be commonly mistakenly for the flu, seeing as some of the symptoms overlap. The flu tends to last longer and has more serious symptoms like nausea, vomiting, shaking chills and fever. However, unlike a common cold, the flu is sometimes preventable with vaccination.
Although a cold, even without treatment of the symptoms, usually clears up within 7- 10 days if your child’s symptoms haven’t improved or they start to run a fever see a doctor immediately. This could indicate other underlying problems.