Colds. Nobody likes them, but everybody gets them! So, what is a cold anyway? A cold is another word for an upper respiratory tract infection—an infection of the nose and throat. Connected areas of the body, like the sinuses and middle ear, are often affected, too.
How Colds Spread
Cold viruses can spread by being around others with sneezes and coughs, and also through dirty hands. Viruses survive for several hours, so children are especially at risk for catching colds when visiting crowded places like malls and theaters or if they go to nursery school or daycare.
Cold viruses are hard to prevent in kids, but there are a few lessons you can teach your kids to help them stay on top of their health. These include:
Caring for Your Child’s Cold
During the first phase of a cold, your child should rest quietly at home, with acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra, Panadol, generic) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, generic) to relieve aches, pains and fever that a cold can bring. To avoid spreading infection, be sure you, your child and others around your child wash hands carefully and as often as possible. Also, ensure your child drinks lots of fluids and have a cool-mist vaporizer in his/her room.
Call your doctor if your child has:
- Trouble breathing
- Chest pain, earache or sinus pain (pain in the forehead, behind cheek bones or in the upper teeth)
- A sore throat along with whitish or yellow spots on his/her tonsils or a rash
- A fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, or if a milder fever lasts more than two days
In addition, it is important to call the doctor immediately if your child has a fever with chills, especially if the chills make his/her body shake all over.
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