No matter the condition – a cold, flu, ear or sinus infection – a sick child makes everyone unhappy. Sickness and infections can spread like wild fire at school or day care, and it feels impossible for your child to go an entire winter without experiencing at least a few fevers, colds, and upset tummies.
The following is some introductory information about common illnesses your child may experience, with tips on caring for your little one, plus some advice on lowering their risk of catching a cold or picking up an infection in the first place.
The Common Cold
Often caused by the Rhinovirus, colds that are passed around among kids and adults are viral in nature
It can be picked up through inhalation or touching contaminated objects or surfaces
This means avoiding sick people and their immediate environment can help one avoid getting sick, too (and why staying home from school or daycare while sick is important)
Colds can last for several days but don’t tend to go beyond 10 days
They usually start with your child feeling off and/or fatigued, followed by a sore throat, runny rose, or the beginnings of a cough
The nose, throat, sinuses, and lungs can be affected by the infection
Fever may or may not accompany a common cold
Hunger may be affected, and your child may also experience an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea
Colds can be aided with children’s Tylenol, cold and flu formulas, and cough syrup specifically designed for children, with the proper and safe doses for age ranges
Sick kids need plenty of rest, water, and vitamins. Evidence is conflicted on the helpfulness of extra Vitamin C on colds, but it’s certainly a healthy vitamin to enjoy through natural citrus juices and vegetable-based drinks while sick or any time
If your child is experiencing a long-lasting fever and doesn’t seem to be getting better after several days, it’s good idea to visit your doctor.
Other Illnesses & Antibiotics
Antibiotics are not used to treat the common cold and standard fevers that accompany them because they are viral not bacterial in nature
However, symptoms like a cough, sore throat, or fever could be indicative of a more serious infection, such as pneumonia, strep throat, a sinus or ear infection, or whooping cough – which are caused by bacterial infections, so antibiotics are appropriate
Antibiotics are not right for everyone who is sick, plus their general overuse among populations is leading to antibiotic-resistant strains of illnesses, so your doctor may not prescribe one
If your child has trouble taking their medication of any type, look for a local pharmacy in your area that provides pharmaceutical compounding. Their pharmacists can create customized prescriptions that are made with more appealing flavours and in doses that are right for your child’s needs, plus may come with reduced side effects
Compounding can also help children who have trouble swallowing pills by providing a liquid formula option
Have your entire family get an annual flu shot as soon as flu clinics are provided
Note that a doctor’s office waiting room can potentially be an environment to pick up a virus or bacterial infection, so take your child in to see the doctor only if their symptoms go beyond a common cold’s runny nose, light to moderate cough, or short fever
Teach your child to frequently and properly wash their hands using soap & water and dry them throughout the day, especially before meals and drinking
Try to dissuade your child from touching their mouths often or sucking their thumbs to prevent transmission
If your child is sick, keep them home from school or daycare to prevent the spread of the virus or bacterial infection
Boost your child’s immune system by feeding them nutrient-rich foods packed with vitamins and minerals like veggies and fruits, and by giving them ample time to sleep in a quiet, sleep-conducive environment
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