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Common cold in children

Common cold is a frequent infection that occurs mainly during the fall-winter period. It may be caused by over 200 viruses* and affects children significantly more often than adults. It happens so as children are livelier and more active, therefore prone to sweating or overheating – which may lead to the common cold easily. The common cold is transmitted via airborne droplets
through sneezing and coughing or direct contact, as viruses can remain active on the skin for several hours. It is the most contagious for the first 72 hours, but it may be transmitted throughout the entire period of the symptoms occurring.

Symptoms:

The course of the disease is usually far more severe with children than it is with the adults. In small children common cold might begin with diarrhea. The most common symptoms of the common cold are:

  • runny nose
  • throat irritation and cough
  • fever and chills
  • tearing
  • loss of appetite

Most symptoms disappear within 10 days, but the cough may persist for 2 weeks.

How to treat it?

With common cold, it is important to fight its symptoms. Quick reaction increases the chance of the symptoms disappearing faster. It is important to:

  • keep the child at home for a couple of days
  • provide the child with plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
  • decongest the blocked nose as it will help to breathe freely
  • pat the child’s back in case of a wet cough
  • alleviate fever
  • humidify air in the room

When to consult a physician?

It is indispensable to see a physician in case the following symptoms occur:

  • fever that persists over 72 hours
  • paroxysmal, persistent cough
  • sore throat that causes problems with swallowing
  • earaches
  • dyspnea
  • vomiting
* R. Eccles, Understanding the symptoms of the common cold and influenza, Cardiff University, Cardiff, 2005