Childhood is synonymous with jumping, cycling, running and playing in the rain or sun in short- careless fun. But it is also in this childhood that we have the constant bouts of colds and fever. Cold is also the reason why your child may have missed his school the second time this season or why he comes everyday from school with a running nose and coughs all night.
To all those mommies and daddies, wondering why you child is so sick these days- relax, it is a normal process of growing up. Young children less than 2 years of age get colds as many as 10 times in a year while older children get it around 7 times in a year. Children are especially prone to get colds in cold and dry weather.
Why do children have frequent colds?
Common cold is caused by the infection of a virus that affects the nose, throat and sinuses. There are about 100 different types of viruses in the air and children are especially prone to them because of their developing immune system, which isn’t immune to most of the cold viruses yet. Once they get cold they become immune to that virus so as children grow older, they get fewer colds.
Some symptoms of common colds are:
- Running nose
- Slight fever
- Sore Throat
- Head ache
- Nasal congestion
- Loss of appetite
Running noses are typical of colds, followed by nasal congestion, sneezing and sore throat. These symptoms are seen 2-3 days after infection. Colds usually last for 10 days but can also last till 2 weeks. Sometimes a mild fever accompanies the cold and children may be more tired than usual with low appetite, these infections generally don’t require much treatment and go away on their own.
How do kids get infected?
Children get infected from their siblings, parents caregivers and other children. The Cold virus is present in the nose, mouth and eyes and children generally have the habit of putting fingers or things in their mouth. If children share toys or play together they are quite prone to spreading the virus to others.
Also children are in constant contact with adults while playing, feeding, holding and travelling and can get the infection from them.
Some virus can survive outside the body on the toys, door knob for few hours and thus spread to others who are in contact with it. Other virus types are present in the nasal fluid and can spread by sneezing and coughing.
Children who go to a crèche or a babysitting centre are more likely to get colds because of the presence of many children and many toys.
When is it more than common cold?
Colds usually do not need to be treated however in case your child shows these symptoms they need medical attention-
- If your child develops a fever of more than 110.40 F after first few days of cold along with crankiness, vomiting and pus draining from ears then the cold may have developed into ear infection. And you will need to see the doctor.
- If your child’s coughing sounds more like wheezing it may be due to asthma.
- If your child’s nasal congestion doesn’t get better in 14 days, it may mean sinusitis.
- If your child is breathing rapidly and has bluish lips and is coughing so hard that he or she is vomiting then it may be pneumonia and you need to see a doctor as soon as possible.
- If your child suffers from a severe throat ache for more than 3 days and severe throat pain then it may be due to bacterial tonsillitis.
- If your child’s cold doesn’t get better in 14 days with green, yellow or brown sputum or has fever it may be due to bacterial infection and will need medication.
In babies, consult a doctor if,
- Baby is having difficulty in breathing
- Your baby has bluish lips
- Baby is not eating anything and vomiting
- If your child is very lethargic and doesn’t laugh or play.