Coughs and cold are very common afflictions, experienced by most people at some time or the other. Both get transmitted from one person to the other very easily and are very common in toddlers and children. Coughs and cold are usually the result of a virus invading the body. These viruses usually infect the nose and the throat and are passed on to the others, when the infected person coughs or sneezes, droplets into the air. Studies indicate that average primary and pre-primary children can suffer from anywhere between 3 and 8 episodes of cough or cold in a year. At times, children could suffer from recurrent bouts of coughs and colds too, especially if there are other children in the house who keep passing the infections back and forth. It has been seen that toddlers and children who live with smokers are at a much higher risk of developing coughs and colds, as compared to others.
At times, certain underlying conditions could also trigger off coughs and colds. Given below are some of the other underlying causes of cough and cold in children:
- Acute sinusitis
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Exposure to irritants and allergens
- Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Post nasal drip
- Respiratory problems like asthma or bronchitis
- Use of certain medication
- Whooping cough or pertussis
Many people believe that children can catch a cough or a cold from exposure to chilly weather. However, there is no evidence to support this theory. Cough and cold in toddlers is another very common condition that has many reasons. In order to determine the exact factors, causing the cough and cold, it may be necessary to undergo a physical exam. In many cases, the exact causes for cough and cold in children cannot be ascertained.What are the symptoms ?
In many instances, coughs and cold are symptoms of simple conditions, like the flu. However, there are certain symptoms that can let you know that a child is coming down with a cough and cold soon. Given below are some of the most common symptoms of cough and cold in children:
- Congestion in the chest
- Difficulties in swallowing, because of throat pain
- Fatigue, weakness and excessive tiredness
- Headaches or muscle pain
- Inability to sleep, because of coughing or sneezing during the night
- Lack of appetite
- Loss in sense of smell and taste
- Mild to moderate fever
- Nasal discharge, which could be watery or thick and may vary in color
- Nausea or vomiting, especially after a bout of coughing
- Persistent crying or irritability
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Sore throat, often accompanied by the need to clear it repeatedly
- Watering of the eyes, accompanied by redness
It is not necessary that a child suffering from a cough and cold will experience all the symptoms mentioned above. There are many children who only have excess coughing and sneezing as a result of a cough and cold. In some cases, a cough and cold could be accompanied by some severe symptoms, which could be a cause for concern. In such instances, it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention. Given below are some of the symptoms that should be checked by a doctor:
- Pain in the chest
- High temperature, which lasts for a long duration
- Earache that is persistent
- Wheezing and fast or noisy breathing
In case any of these symptoms are seen in children, it is important to get them checked immediate, so that the possibilities of serious health problems can be ruled out.How to get relief?
Unfortunately, there is no magical cough and cold treatment, which gets rid of these afflictions immediately. The symptoms of a cough and cold usually last for the first 2 to 3 days, after which they begin to ease a bit. However, a few instances of cough can be quite persistent and could also last for around 4 weeks or so. Antibiotics are usually not included in cough and cold treatment for children, as they have no effect on the virus. Nevertheless, the symptoms like headaches, pain and fever can be alleviated to a great extent, with the help of over the counter medication. At the same time, it is also important to make sure that the child gets enough to eat and drinks plenty of water or other liquids, like ginger tea, during the course of the day.
There are many home remedies for cold and cough in children too, which maximize the child’s comfort, by relieving the uncomfortable symptoms. Steaming is highly recommended for children who are suffering from coughs and colds. Since it may not be possible for a child to directly inhale steam from boiling hot water, parents are advised to run a hot shower, keeping the door closed, to that the bathroom gets filled with steam. Once that happens, the child should be made to sit that that environment and breathe in the steamy air, for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Many parents allow their children to read a book or even sit with their children and tell them a story, to make it easier.
Vitamin C is excellent for boosting the immune system and enabling the body to fight off the cough or cold causing virus. Therefore, the child can be given some fresh orange juice, diluted in warm water. Older children should be encouraged to eat slices of a warm orange.
Honey has been used for centuries, to cure several ailments, which also include cough and cold. Parents could either have their children sip on warm water to which honey has been added or could just have the child have a teaspoon of warm honey.How to prevent it in toddlers?
It is a well-known fact that a cough and cold could cause the child a lot of discomfort. It is also common for children to miss school, because of these ailments. Hence, many parents take steps for preventing a common cold and cough. There are several ways in which you can reduce the risks of your child suffering from these problems. Given below are a few common tips for preventing a cough and cold:
- Maintain strict hygiene standards, by washing hands with an antibacterial soap at regular intervals
- Avoiding exposure to smoke or other airborne allergens or irritants
- Getting plenty of rest and an adequate amount of during the day, which allows the immune system to fight off the virus
- Following a healthy diet, which includes a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, pulses and other nutrient-rich food
- Keeping a box of tissues handy, so that the virus does not spread from one person to the other
- Drinking a lot of liquids during the day, so that the body can flush out the waste and toxins
These tips only reduce the possibilities of your child getting a cough and cold; however, they do not guarantee that your child will not catch a cough and cold in any way.
answered by A S on Jun 9, 2011, 12:16:08