Cold and Flu in children
Cold is commonly caused by viruses (germs) that infect the nose, throat, and sinuses when the susceptibility of the body is low. The cold and flu are most common in winters and fall that are from September to March or April. Common cold and flu are generally not dangerous, except for immunocompromised children and newborn babies who have yet to develop immunity. Once a child has encountered specific virus, bacteria or germ, the body improves resistance against it. Babies and infants oftener get sick and may get 8-10 colds a year before turning 2. As the child gets older will get fewer cold and flu.
Symptoms of cold and flu:
When a child gets cold, the first symptom that appears is a generalized feeling of unwell, followed by a sore throat, sneezing, hoarseness, watery nose, fever, and cough. The viruses that cause cold and flu may affect sinuses, bronchial tubes, ear, and Eustachian tubes.
At first, a build-up of mucus along with sore throat and cough is experienced. The child will complain of headaches, irritation in the throat and a congestive feeling in the chest. The child will complain of slimy discharge coming out of the nose which can be watery or mucoid. Later, a postnasal drip (a sensation of mucus running down the back of your mouth) is felt. The symptoms of cold and flu usually last for 1 week or may take up to 2 weeks to go away. If the symptoms get worse child may experience:
- A high-grade fever,
- Achy body
- Decreased appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Bland or acrid coryza
- Watery or crusty eyes
Modes of the spread of germs causing cold and flu:
Children can catch a cold and flu from someone sick, parents, siblings, other family members, playmates. Some germs are present in the air and spread when a sick person who already got these germs coughs or sneezes. These droplets travel through the air into the nasal passage of another person and make them sick too. Generally, germs can spread from either of two ways: Direct contact or Indirect contact.
Direct contact: such as holding hands, touching or kissing with an infected person. When someone is sick they carry germs in their nose, mouth, eyes, and hands. The germs are easily transferred by making direct contact, touching other people, shaking hands.
Indirect contact: It means using or touching something— that has been touched by an already infected person, a carrier -like a toy, doorknob, books, pen, remote or a used tissue—that has germs on it. Some germs, including the germs that cause colds, flu, and diarrhea, can stay on surfaces for several hours. Thus, using the same stuff used by a sick person is a big no.
What a Parent should do when Children Catch a Cold and Flu:
- Give plenty of fluids, offer small- healthy easily digestible meals.
- Keep the sick child at ease as possible.
- This period can be very irritable for the children, try to show some love and affection during the frustrating phase.
- Check the temperature- make sure the room environment is comfy and noise free.
- Give warm soothing drinks to ease up the tickling throat
- Children can continue normal activities if they feel alright if there is a complication and high fever make them rest.
- Make sure he or she is clearing the stuffed nose.
- If your baby or toddler is having trouble breastfeeding because of a stuffed-up nose, use a suction bulb to clear mucus from the nose.
Modes of prevention from cold and flu:
- When you have children around, wash all the surfaces touched by an already sick person.
- Encourage children to wash their hands regularly to keep from being sick and getting germs.
- Teach your child not to share stuff, foods, clothing when they are sick to avoid the spread of germs between them and their friends.
- Avoid touching surfaces that are not clean
- Try to keep infants away from the sick people
- Try to keep the child out of daycare if he/she is sick.
Homeopathic treatment for cold and flu:
Generally, the cold and flu get better on its own within a few days. But if it is a topic of concern, help of medication can be taken. Homeopathy has been used for years to treat cold and flu in children. Some of the effective Schwabe products for general wellbeing and treatment of cold and flu are Tussikind AND Tussistin Cough Syrup. These homeopathic medicaments are useful for children of any age. It covers dry cough, congestion in the chest, tickling in throat. It lowers irritation in larynx and trachea, promotes expectoration and lowers constriction and pressure in bronchi and thereby relieves congestion. It reduces symptoms of wheezing, dysphonia, and hoarseness and helps to relieve spasmodic and initial whooping cough symptoms.