Winter is here and with it comes the runny nose. Infants, toddlers and little children are to look out for as they are most prone to this common cold. Cold, flu, cough like ailments are not a danger to us but they sure do mess up our routine. We get succumbed to its will and wanna do nothing till it lasts.
The common cold is a viral infection and is caused by the rhinovirus. It is an infection of the upper respiratory tract focusing on the Nose. Sign and symptoms may vary from just a stuffy nose to cough, cold, fever, sneezing, sore throat etc. It may be common but the common cold has no treatment. Usually resolving in 7 to 10 days, common cold may benefit from symptomatic treatment. A few of pharmacological advice given are analgesics, antihistamines, antipyretic etc.
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What happens common cold is happening to your precious child? As adults, most of the time it is nothing but in few instances but in young babies – age less than 1 yr, a simple cold can be serious. So, you need to watch out and refer to your pediatrician as soon as possible if your baby is younger than 1 yr of age. In normal cases, a cold usually resolve by the end of the week. Unlike adults, children are twice more vulnerable to common cold due to their weak immunity.
Ways To Protect Children Against Common Cold
Keeping your and your baby’s hands clean is an extremely important step against common cold. Just a simple hand washing can save you from a lot of trouble. Usually, viruses reside on the hand surface and when baby touches his noses or you touch him, they get transferred to the Nose leading to viral infection. This is how common cold transfers.
If your child is old enough, try to make hand washing a habit in his routine. If he prefers not to use water in the chilly weather, get him a sanitizer, any alcohol-based sanitizer will do. Ask him to wash/sanitize his hands before and after eating or drinking anything, after using the toilet, after coming home from outside etc.
Keep Your Baby Warm to protect from common cold
There is a reason that cold usually present in winter. The low temperature in winter acts as a stimulus for rhinovirus and gives it a perfect opportunity to strike. Now we can’t change the environment or the temperature. What can we do to prevent cold?
We can adjust thermostats in our homes to a comfortable temperature for child. Keep them close to your chest while you are outside and also well covered. In older babies, make sure they are well clothed and away from chilly air during winter. Do not allow them to drink cold, chilled water. These few steps are often enough to avoid common cold.
Drink Good Amount Of Water
Water, as we know, helps in every ailment, cold is no different. Physicians recommend drinking as much water as one can during the cold. If possible warm up the water before drinking as chilled water may itself be the cause of common cold.
Water clears the stuffed nose and pharyngeal cavity making it easier to breathe. It also acts as a decongestant in mild common cold. In fact in common cold, first medicine physician usually prescribe is NS nasal drop i.e. Normal saline nasal drop. It is nothing but simple water and salt. Help your child to drink water at least 9-10 times a day.
Boost Your Child’s Immunity
The first thing to do against cough and cold is making your child invincible, boosting his immunity. Once he is healthy as a horse, cold won’t even touch him.
Most important and effective way among these ways, to boost child’s immunity, is by giving him vaccine shots. Now I know many of you reading this article think that it is just a way to rob you off your money, but it’s not so. Get his shots at a time. Before that in his earlier days of life, you need to breastfeed him at least for 6 months and if possible longer.
Sleep And Eat Healthy
Healthy sleep and healthy eating is essential for a healthy immune system as well as a healthy body. Whatever supplements out there are, you can get them all in a healthy diet. A healthy diet reduces the risk of the common cold by half. It should be a balanced diet, comprising an adequate amount of fibers, protein, carbs, and sugar. Add fruits and green vegetables in your child’s diet. Encourage him to eat as much green as he can. It is healthy for a child and prevents cough and cold.
Now when we talk of sleep, exactly how much sleep is sufficient for a child. Expert says that about 6-8 hour of sleep is essential for a child. Anything less than this is going to affect his health eventually. Other than adequate sleep hours, a child also needs to have good sleep hygiene which requires him to go to sleep on same time, not using mobile or any other mean of distraction in bed and using the bed for sole purposes of sleep.
Having Good Habits
Behavioral development plays an important part in a child’s development. How your child behaves in society determines in a way how healthy he is. For example, a child with the habit of eating food without washing hands is more prone to get infected than a child who is in the habit of washing hands before eating.
A few other important habits you need to teach your child are daily brushing teeth, covering mouth while sneezing, not sharing food in the same utensil with another person, If possible keeping sanitizer with him all the time. Other than this you yourself need to pick up these habits as your child comes in direct contact with you all the time, you never know when you might accidentally pass on the germs to your baby. For an adult, you need to keep yourself away from the infected individual, avoid any direct contact with the infected person.
Keeping Clean Household
Clean household means lesser germs and lesser germs mean no cough-cold. Now, what specifically does it mean when I say keep a clean household? First, you need to do all the basic cleaning which I am sure, you already are doing in your home. Use alcohol-based products to disinfect the surfaces.
Specific for a child is that clean all the toys he usually plays with. Children are innocent, you never know what they might put in their mouth playfully. Also, take good care of the clothes and towel your child is using. Clean them on regular basis and if possible, do not let others use that towel for any purpose. This will prevent the virus from spreading from infected individual to your child and he will be much safer.
These were a few ways by which you can do something to prevent cold. But if your child gets sick despite all of your efforts, do not worry and try not to indulge in any over the counter medicines by yourself. Instead, allow him full rest, make hot soup for him, keep him covered.
The cold will resolve by itself in a week’s time. There are a few things you need to look out for, if you observe any wheeze in child – whistling sound while breathing or your child’s cold does not resolve within 10 days then its time to consult a doctor. Be haste about it, it can be very serious.
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