The cause behind the common cold is an infection in upper respiratory system due to cold virus. The infection affects ears, nose, and throat. Among around two hundred known viruses causing common cold, rhinovirus is the most common. Owing to such a huge number of culprits, there is no vaccination available to cure the common cold. The only weapon to fight common cold is a person’s immune system. Today, common cold in children has become one of the most common causes of a child’s visits to doctor. It is estimated that a child on average catches common cold almost eight times in a year and every time, it lasts for almost a week.
Common Cold in Children
Viruses causing common cold in children usually spread through cough or sneeze from infected person. Mucus, which is a wet and slimy mass inside the nose, is the carrier of cold virus. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the drops of this mucus are released from mouth and when a person breathes in these drops, he also gets cold. Moreover, it can also spread through the handling of contaminated stuff e.g. towels, school desks, door knobs etc. once a person touches a towel which is contaminated and then touches his eyes or nose, he is at risk of catching cold. So you need to make sure that you wash your and your child hands in a regular basis and stay away from germs as much as possible.
The cold viruses can stick to the interior of nose through their docking points. It then starts multiplying rapidly in the cell lining. These viruses can even defeat white cells within seven days and overcome them. Sneeze and running is actually a means of preventing this infection from affecting rest of the body. You sneeze when your nose lining feels irritation from bacteria and hence the nose, with the help of lungs, tries to throw out these bacteria through a blast of air which we call sneezing. The air released from mouth and nose during sneezing travels at hundred miles per hour.
Symptoms and Treatment Tips
After a child has come into contact with cold viruses, the symptoms may be shown after two or three days. Symptoms of common cold in children include blocked nose, exhaustion, headache, cough, sore throat, muscle ache and nasal cavity congestion would be observed. Moreover, a mild fever with chills can also be seen. Medicines which are given against cold virus do not help in healing because viruses will complete their cycle any ways, however these meds help stop the further growth of viruses.
As a parent, do not let your child take any medicine on his own. You must supervise the dosage and the med taken which should be based on prescription given by doctor. Decongestants help relieve the swollen nose lining thus making the breathing process easier. Antihistamines stop runny nose and dry the mucus, thus stopping sneezing. In case of headache and muscle ache, Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be helpful.
Hot drinks and food if given to the suffering child will help relieve the sour throat and cough while clearing the mucus at the same time. One of the most common and effective remedies for common cold in children is chicken soup. Moreover, hot, steamy showers can also be of great help. For itchy eyes, scratchy and stuffy throat, use humidifier which helps loosen the mucus by spraying cool mist. Moreover, you need to make sure that your child’s nose is blown frequently so that the bacteria and virus are let out with mucus. Moreover, using disposable tissues instead of handkerchief would be even better. In addition to that, one or two days of complete bed rest would do the task.
Above all, the best thing one can do to oneself is to strengthen the immune system by eating healthy and balanced diet. Regular exercise would let the child stay fit and strong and sleep properly. More stressed routine in children lead to more chances of catching cold. So on some days, child should go to bed early and get up early in the morning. As much bed rest should be taken as possible during cold.