Wednesday December 12, 2018
What is the first thing you think of when your child comes home with a sore throat?
Oh no! They’re coming down with a cold!
Did you know? On average, kids under age 3 catch six to eight colds a year.
Why do children catch so many colds? According to Carol J. Baker, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston: "We think that since most children are encountering viruses for the first time, their immune systems aren't able to kill them as quickly as when they encounter them again."
Colds typically last 6 to 14 days. "They're most contagious during the first three days of symptoms, but you can still catch a cold from someone who's had it for two weeks," explains David Jaffe, M.D., director of emergency medicine at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
- Sore Throat. First sign of a cold, can last approximately 5 to 9 days.
- Cough. Can linger up to 3 weeks after the cold has passed.
- Runny Nose. Can begin between day 1-3 and last up to 14 days.
- Fever. Typical temperatures of 101 to 103 degrees F for the first two or three days can be considered normal. Any fever can be dangerous to small children, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician.
- Catching a cold is by getting the virus on your hands and then touching your nose or eyes.
- Cold viruses can live on a surface for a few hours. Cold viruses can be transmitted by touching inanimate objects (fomites in medicalese) and then touching your mouth, nose or eye. However, greater risk comes from a sick person who coughs in your immediate proximity.
- Catching a cold via sneeze.
- When people with a cold are talking, they are aerosolizing droplets with the virus into the air. Unless being sneezed directly in the face, cold viruses don't spread easily into the air. Keep in mind, the closer your proximity to the person who is sick, the greater your risk of being infected by these particles.
- Antibiotics will help you get over a cold faster.
- Colds are caused by viruses. Viruses aren't treatable with antibiotics.
Issue with Cold and Flu Medications
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, over-the-counter cough and cold medications may not be the best treatment for children under 6 years of age. Medications such as seudoephedrine (decongestant) and Dextromethorphan (cough suppressant) can cause heart-rhythm issues.
Numerous studies have shown babies and toddlers who’ve been given cold and cough medicines failed to show fewer side effects or feel better any sooner than children receiving no medication at all. According to Dennis Kou, MD, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine states: "Most babies and kids with colds will start feeling better in less than five days, whether or not they take medicine.”
Natural Cold Prevention
Although there's no cure for the common cold -- prevention is key to reducing your risk:
- Proper hand washing. “Hands down” one of the best ways to prevent a cold is to keep clean hands! Wash hands before eating, after using the bathroom, sneezing, or coughing.
- Did you know? Viruses that cause colds are usually transferred from one's hand to the nose or mouth, where the virus multiplies making one sick.
- Hand sanitizer when hand washing is not possible. Philip Tierno, Ph.D., an associate professor of microbiology and pathology at New York University, believes effective hand sanitizers need contain at least 60 percent alcohol to kill bacteria. In fact, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that kids who regularly use a hand sanitizer have 50 percent fewer absences from school than those who don't.
- Germ hotspots. "It's not dirt that you are looking for, it's germs," says Dr. Philip Tierno. "Paying attention to the high-traffic areas where germs linger, like countertops, phones, and doorknobs, is more important." Don’t forget the cart handle at the grocery store, and using your own pen when signing receipts or checks while shopping.
- Did you know? Wipes are super convenient, but they can also transfer bacteria from one surface to another. Use one wipe per surface being cleaned to reduce risk of getting sick.
- Boosting Your Immune System. A healthy immune system is one’s best defense in fighting a cold. Dr. Sears recommends giving kids foods packed with phytonutrients such as: blueberries, tomatoes, spinach, and sweet potatoes. Let’s not forget about noni! Packed with over 165 beneficial phytonutrients raw noni fruit boosts the immune system and promotes overall wellness. Click here for more immune boosting foods
- Stay Active Ray Sahelian, M.D., a family physician and author of The Common Cold Cure, says exercise can also help prevent catching a cold. "It's probably the single best way to keep your energy up and your stress level down, which is doubly important during cold and flu season," he says. In addition, exercising outside will expose one to sunlight (also known as Vitamin D) which during the winter months is important for health. Click here to stay pain free this winter
- Adequate sleep. Being sleep-deprived does much more than make one cranky -- it can also be unhealthy: "Some studies show that being sleep-deprived limits the body's natural killer-cell activity -- white blood cells, which help battle disease," says Michael Bonnet, Ph.D., director of the sleep laboratory at the Dayton Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in OH.
- Did you know? Children require 9 -14 hours of sleep per day depending on their age for optimal health. For more tips in getting all your Zzz’s click here