Help Getting Your Child Through a Cold and Help Preventing Them

It is that time of the year, again. Children are in school and the air inside our homes and schools are much dryer due to the use of furnaces. What does this mean? It means your child is much more likely to get a cold.

We all know how miserable colds are. You can have the sniffles, the sneezing, the sore throat, the cough, the body aches and the congestion. All of this can led to a very miserable child.

It is estimated that a child can get up to 8 colds a year. It is also estimated that colds are the number one reason why children have to stay home from school and the number one reason why they have to go to the doctor. Colds are also the most common infectious disease in the United States.

We all know that colds are caused by germs, rhinoviruses, to be exact. Rhino is the Greek word for nose. The virus usually spreads through the air we breathe. Thus the combination of rhino and virus. But we also can catch colds from touching things and then touching our mouths, eyes or noses.

Colds are very contagious, especially for the first two to four days after symptoms appear. But you can still be contagious up to three weeks after symptoms appear. The cold virus is usually caught by breathing in the virus because when one sneezes the virus particles can travel up to 12 feet through the air. That is why it is essential to teach your children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze.

Some simple steps can help keep your child from catching a cold.

1. Try to keep your children away from others, who all ready are affected with the cold virus.

2. Teach them to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently, especially after playing with other children or before eating.

3. Do not allow your children to use a towel after someone else, especially when that person has a cold.

4. Also teach your children never to eat or drink after someone else. You never know who may be coming down with a cold.

A cold usually lasts between a week or two. But to one who is suffering from one or to one who is taking care of that person, it may seem like longer. There isn’t really any medicine that will stop the cold. There is some that will help with the symptoms, especially acetaminophen, which can help with small fevers, headaches and muscle aches. You can also use the following tricks to help with a cold.

1. Saltwater drops in the nostril’s can help relieve congestion. You can even buy saline drops.

2. A cool mist humidify to help increase the air moisture

3. Petroleum jelly on the skin under the nose to help the rawness

4. Hard candy or cough drops (for children over the age of 3) to help soothe sore throats

5. Warm baths and or heating pads to help with muscle aches.

6. Steam from hot showers to help the congestion

7. Drinking lots of liquids, except caffeine filled beverages

8. Getting lots of rest.

9. Chicken soup. It actually can help a cold because it can help congestion.

Usually you don’t have to take your child to the doctor because of a cold. But if the following should occur, you should call your doctor to see what he or she advises.

1. If your child seems to be getting worse instead of better after about 3 days.

2. If your child can not keep food or liquids down.

3. If any of these pains increases: head, throat or if the soreness in the throat interferes with swallowing.

4. An earache develops

5. Chest or stomach pain

6. Swollen glands.

If your child is under the age of 12, never give him or her aspirin and if he or she is under the age of 19, never give aspirin during a cold or any viral type illness. If you do he or she could get Reye Syndrome, which is severely dangerous.

You can not avoid the fact that your child will get a cold. All you can do is try to teach the basic habits that may help cut down on the number of colds that occur within each year. You may also want to keep your child home from school while he or she is suffering from the cold. Going to school would probably not hurt your child any, if the cold isn’t severe. But it could spread to other children.

Just stay calm and relax the best you can while your child is sick. Hopefully, it won’t last long and you won’t catch it.

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