Caring for You and Your Family

Managing the common cold in children

As temperatures drop during this cold season, children are more prone than ever to catch colds. Although children are cold magnets because their immunity is not fully developed, common colds can be managed through several measures to ensure that children have a slightly less rough time when the cold comes calling. Beat the coughing and sneezing with these simple tips.

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There is a scientific explanation why people tend to get a cold during cold weather. Rhinovirus, the virus that causes colds, thrives in chilly temperatures, as it is able to reproduce faster than the human immune system can handle. Rhinovirus also has the ability to adjust making it difficult to build 100 per cent immunity.

Since children usually have a weaker immune system, the common cold tends to affect them six to eight times a year especially those under the age of three. Children are also more likely to spread the virus to other children, as they are less likely to be overly concerned about having a runny nose. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you manage the common cold once you notice the telltale signs such as sneezing, coughing, sore throat and runny or clogged nose.

Opt for a steamy shower

When your child is experiencing difficulty in breathing due to congestion of the nasal cavity, steam acts as a natural decongestant. Give the child a hot shower to open up the clogged nasal passages without troublesome side effects. The hot shower will loosen and liquefy the mucus enabling the child to breathe better. For children less than five years, allow steam to build up in the bathroom before giving them a warm bath. It is also recommended that the child sleeps in a humid room as dry air can aggravate congestion.

Avoid antibiotics

Understandably, parents will try anything to make their children feel better. However, antibiotics do not help with colds. They treat bacterial infections whereas viruses cause colds. It is also important to note that over-the-counter medications are not recommended for young children as their effectiveness and safety is not guaranteed. Simple home remedies like drops of salty solution in the nose help with decongestion of the nasal cavity to help the child breathe more easily.

Encourage enough rest

Children need to have adequate rest when they have a cold in order to help them conserve the energy they need to recuperate. The body is able to heal itself when mobility is limited as it has more resources to fight off the virus. Bed rest is also recommended when the child has a cold as it ensures they do not spread the virus to other people in the house or at school.

Give them enough fluids

Warm beverages like tea or even the traditional chicken soup help to beat the cold by keeping the body hydrated especially if the child has a mild fever. Tea sweetened with honey packs a double punch as it soothes sore throats as honey coats the throat making breathing less laboured. Fluids also help to thin the mucus to reduce congestion as well as reduce the risk of lung and ear infections.

Published August 2017…

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