Kids and the Common Cold



 
How to treat and stop the infection before it starts
There’s no use running; we’re surrounded by cold weather. Soon enough, our little ones’ little noses, hidden underneath increasingly more layers, will definitely begin to run. Yes, indeed, ‘tis cold and flu season for our kiddies too. And there’s nothing more heartbreaking than seeing our children fight the symptoms of their first cold. But to new moms we say, have no fear! Here is a guide to help combat your little ones’ very first ailments.When the virus makes itself at home
More than 200 different viruses can cause the common cold. Thus, having the right tools to fight it is a must. And since our little ones love to share their pacifiers and give out loads of kisses, our willingness isn’t always enough to protect our kids; we must fight the virus head on!

A runny nose, coughing, a hoarse voice, a sore throat, sneezing and fever are all telltale signs that your child’s immune system is under assault. But, don’t run to the emergency room at the onset of a cold. However, if your child starts wheezing and having difficulty breathing, and if he vomits for several hours at a time or has sore ribs, then it is best to consult a physician. Same goes if his fever persists for more than two days. To be clear: a fever is when rectal temperature is above 38°C.

Dr. Mom to the rescue
If your child only has a runny nose, and sneezes and coughs, you’re the best nurse he could ask for. Time is the main remedy against the common cold. Medication is not recommended for children under two years of age. Rather, improving their surroundings will do more good. Dry and hot air intensifies cold symptoms. Thus, it is recommended to keep humidity levels between 30 and 50% and room temperature at around 20 °C.

Is your little one blowing bubbles out of his nose? Pediatric nurses recommend using a saline solution rather than sucking out the mucus with a nose pump, which could create more secretions.  When the cold gets really bad, pour 1mL of homemade (½ tsp table salt dissolved in one cup of cooled boiled water) or store-bought saline solution in each nostril during his diaper change. That way, in addition to making feedings easier, the solution will push the mucus down into the stomach where the viruses are then neutralized in a highly acidic environment.

Managing nasal secretions is the key to preventing complications. In fact, since a child’s skull is narrower, passages are closer to one another, which can result in a sinus or ear infection, for example. Come bedtime, you can also place a rolled-up towel underneath the mattress so that your child sleeps at an angle. This may be amusing to him and will prevent the secretions from building up. Speaking of amusing, here is a fun technique to teach your child to blow his nose: place a feather on the table and ask your little one to blow on it using only his nose. But be warned: don’t ask him to play this game once he already has a cold. This could create an unfortunate mess!

Finally, is there anything more comforting than a warm homemade broth? The amino acid in meat, and thus chicken broth, is a gold mine of antioxidants. And if your little one likes the taste, why not sprinkle fresh ginger on said chicken broth? That way, it will have anti-inflammatory properties, as well.

Building barriers
Knowing the tips and tricks that can help us weather the storm is all well and good, but it is equally important to know how to protect ourselves from further attacks to our immune system. Teach your children to cough and sneeze in the crook of their elbow. This will help stop viruses in their tracks. Lead by example because to take the utmost care of your little patients, you yourself need to be healthy.

The experts at Jamieson recommend that we take vitamin D supplements daily as well as adopt a diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants, especially as the cold season approaches.

While potentially stressful for our bodies, winter is a wonderful season. Your kids may see their very first snowfall soon. Why deny ourselves such memorable moments because we fear getting a stinking cold that’ll see us buried under a mountain of dirty tissues? Get out and play! After all, happiness cures (almost) everything!

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