As much as kids are lovable, the more we need to take care that they are protected from germs. These little adorable creatures are prone to catching a common cold and other infections. Their immune system is not very well developed so any virus, bacteria, protozoa or mycobacterium is very likely to grown in this unprotected environment leading to childhood common disease.
Children may catch a common cold 8 to 12 times a year which is 3 times the number of times an adult might catch cold in a year.
Symptoms of common cold
Symptoms in children and adults are more or less the same such as high temperature, runny nose, cough and sneezing. Colds usually aren’t serious and get better without treatment but if prolonged you need to seek doctor’s advice. You need to look out for your child when he starts to develop behavioral changes including lethargy and irritability, the child effuses to drink for prolonged periods of time, there are breathing difficulties, nasal congestion and reddening of the eyes.
Fever greater than 38.4o Celsius for more than three days is also not a very good sign. Cases where doctor consultation is recommended are when your child is also suffering from earache, there is chest pain or bloodstained phlegm is coughed up, pneumonia, asthma, sinusitis and signs of severe sore throat which might be a case of tonsillitis.
Tonsillitis can be cured by antibiotics. If it persists, tonsillectomy is done when the child is 4 years of age. However, note that all the above mentioned complications are not treated by antibiotics. Antibiotics are not a treatment for every childhood common disease.
Common colds don’t follow a pattern, they can occur during any season of the year increasingly in winters and when the weather is changing i.e. from September until March. Colds are mostly contagious in the first two to four days and can be transmitted from one person to another either by direct contact or indirect contact. Cold viruses can also live on surfaces like door handles or toys and can easily cause childhood common disease. Common colds could also be transferred by inhaling infected droplets. Influenza and corona viruses have this mode of transmission.
A common cold sometimes don’t have a cure. As mentioned above, antibiotics are not always effective. They get better with time and usually go away in a week or two. To help your child recover quickly, make sure he is comfortable and provided with a lot of fluids and nutritious meals. Keep checking your child’s temperature; acetaminophen can be given to ease aches and pain. No medicine containing acetylsalicylic acid should be given because they can cause brain and liver damage. Rubber suction bulbs for clearance of mucus from the nose and nasal decongestant sprays can be used for breastfed babies.
Doctor prescription in every childhood common disease is necessary for child under 6 years. So, over -the-counter cough and cold medicines (dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine) should not be used unless your doctor prescribes them. Herbal and alternative treatments may also be effective. Vapor rub, zinc sulphate and prophylactic use of Vitamin C can decrease common cold symptoms.
Colds can be prevented in bigger children by encouraging them to wash their hands before and after eating and also after coughing or sneezing. Proper hand washing (rubbing hands in water and soap for a good 20 seconds) can keep them away from infections spread by hand to hand contact. You should always keep a sanitizer in your handbag when traveling or where there is no water.
Alcohol based hand rubs are good disinfectants. They can be used several times a day by applying them on hands, wrists and arms. Repeated use will not cause irritation. Direct contact with people who are ill should be limited. Children should be kept away as much as possible from sick patients. Household cleaners (such as mosquito repellants) may also be used for prevention.
As a part of critical prevention, you should always avoid sharing of utensils and toys in children. Feeders should be sterilized before use in children less than one year especially. These simple hygiene measures and vaccinations can have drastic reduction in your child getting childhood common diseases. Stay healthy!