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Managing the Common Cold in Children

Colds are amongst the most common illnesses in children of all ages.

It is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. There is an estimated more than 200 different viruses that can cause a cold, but the rhinovirus is the most common cause. Other viruses that lead to the common cold include enteroviruses and coronaviruses. This respiratory virus typicallylasts for only a week or two but can lead the child feeling weak while the virus is in the system. Because it is a viral infection, antibiotics will not treat a common cold. Although there are a few types of cold viruses that can lead to bacterial infection in the body, which in this case, antibiotics can be used for treatment.

Colds are not particularly dangerous to children, except newborns. And everyone will experience the common cold at least a few times in a year and several dozen times in a lifetime. Although adults may also develop the common cold, children are more prone due to their weak immune system. Colds may be transferred from person to person but are most contagious during the first two to four days.

Disclaimer: The following information given is not be used as medical advice. Join in first aid training to learn how to treat children of common cold and other injuries related to the younger age group.

Causes of Cold in Children

                Although the common cold is generally caused by viruses, there are a few factors that increase the likelihood of acquiring a cold. These include:

  • Seasonal patterns
    • May occur at any time of the year but more frequent during fall and winter months, regardless of geographic location
    • Transmission
      • Direct contact: coming into direct touch with someone who has a cold and then touching own eye, nose or mouth
      • Infection from particles on surfaces: some cold viruses can survive on surfaces for up to one day
      • Inhaling viral particles: droplets containing viral particles can be exhaled into the air by an infected person and inhaled by a healthy person

Symptoms of Cold in Children

It is quite obvious when a child has a cold. But there may be other accompanying symptoms, which usually manifest a day or two after exposure to virus.

  • Nasal congestion
  • Clear, yellow or green-colored nasal discharge
  • Fever (100.4°F or 38°C) during the first three days
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Decreased appetite
  • Irritability
  • Reddening and swelling of nose lining
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Slightly enlarged necks
  • In some cases, vomiting and diarrhea

Managing a Cold in Children

Common Cold in Children                It should be noted that there is no cure for the common cold. They generally go away on their own without any particular medical treatment. The symptoms can only be alleviated to give the child a sense of relief. The following methods can be done to ease the symptoms of colds in children:

  • .Use an infant nasal bulb or aspirator to suck the mucus from the baby’s nose. Or if the child is able to, have the child blow his/ her nose regularly.
  • Ensure that the child gets plenty of rest.
  • Give the child plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Hydration will help the mucus stay loose. Older children may be given warm soups and other drinks.
  • Place a humidifier in the child’s bedroom while the child is asleep to promote nasal and pectoral clearance.
  • Acetaminophen and ibuprofen may be given to lower fever and reduce any pain experiences while the child has a cold and avoid giving aspirin.

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