Common Cold in Children - Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment

Dealing with Common Cold in Children

Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi profile Authored by Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi on 7 Nov 2014 - 13:19.

Colds in infants are an integral part of what adults get in their lifetimes. The principal cause for cold in infants, like in adults is a virus. The infant can develop immunity to only one type of about 200 varieties of viruses, which can cause common cold at a time. 

The growing infant tries to explore by touching everything and therefore can easily pick up a virus on her hands. As the virus settles down it sets a shop in her nasal passages. As cold sets in, the child becomes miserable for a couple of weeks with repeated sneezes and running of nose. Even if the child puts her contaminated hand into her mouth there is no worry.Only when the nose gets infected does the cold set in.

During winter season the child is kept in warm surroundings and covered with protective clothing. The nasal mucous membranes get dry making it ideal for the viruses to invade. During cold seasons, the virus can easily transfer from one person to another.Statistics reveal that colds are more common in children left in daycare by working parents and these kids get more colds, ear infections, runny noses and other respiratory disorders than children taken care in the home.

Even those who are at home may get colds about 5 to 10 times during their first year of life. As the child grows older the number becomes less and less making it to roughly 3 times a year during teenage.

Flu symptoms: If your child has low-grade fever, a runny nose, mild chills and a dry cough particularly during winter season, then it could be that your child has flu. If the fever comes after congestion in the nose it is more likely that your child has common cold. A child with flu may also have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Allergy symptoms: Watering and itching in the eyes are strong symptoms of an allergy together with repeated sneezing and itching ofthe skin. The mucous coming from the nose will be watery and runs clear. An allergic cold is not associated with fever.

Bacterial Infections: If the child has atemperature of around 100 to 101 degrees F and the child is under 3 months of age, you must call a doctor to rule out any bacterial infections, which if present needs immediate treatment.

Never give an across-the-counter medications to children under 4 months. Babies with cold must be given adequate rest in the cradle or bed and proper care taken to maintain adequate hydration with plenty of fluids.

Take a doctor’s advice if you can give acetaminophen drops for fever. The doctor normally advises you to hold on drugs till he sees the child because any medicine given before examining him might mask the signs and symptoms of an impending problem. Never give aspirin to your baby since it might make the child susceptible for a dangerous disease called Reye’sSyndrome.

Help the child to blow the nose (if under 4 years of age), through simple methods like tipping thebaby’s head back and putting few saline drops in the nostrils and suctioning it out with a rubber suction bulb. The bulb is squeezed and the tip put in the nostril and the bulb is released which brings into it the liquid collections, which can be squeezed out.

Don’t use nasal sprays unless specifically ordered by a doctor. Steam inhalation is the best choice. Since the baby is too small you need to boil some water in a bathroom letting the steam out and take the child in and close the door and stay there for 15 minutes. The baby automatically inhales the steam. It gives great relief. However take care to prevent accidental fall of boiling water. Try to put the baby in an upright position for easy dribbling of nasal collections.

Finally watch carefully for the following:

* If you notice that your baby has fever which is in excess of 101 degrees F for more than 3 days it means she has infection.

* If she passes thick sticky yellowish or green mucus for more than 10 days it might mean a sinus infection.

* If her cough increases and she has a wheeze and she starts gasping it means she has pneumonia or viral respiratory syndrome, which can turn serious in, kids younger than one year.

* If she rubs her ears and cries during feeds, it could mean a bacterial ear infection. If you notice any of these, take prompt action and visit a doctor.

Be careful with visitors in terms of cleanliness for the child. Make sure the visitors leave the shoes outside, wash their hands if they want to handle the child, avoid handling thechild if they themselves have cold and so similarly with daycare personnel, if the child is under their care.

Breastfed babies are less susceptible forinfections than bottle-fed babies because breast milk has the necessary antibodies to fight against germs.

*Disclaimer This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.