There are many myths prevailing in the society pertaining to cold. One of the common thing I tend to hear is that child getting diarrhea is secondary to cold. Its not true. Common cold is caused by many viruses, namely Rhino, Corona, Corolla, Astro virus, Adeno virus and the list is long.
The WHO data suggests that there are approx. 4-6 episodes of respiratory tract infection in a year even in a developing nation till 5 years of age. There is good 99 percent chance that a child will get cough cold.
These viral infections are contagious for at least 5 days and the symptoms being runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, cough, sore throat, mild fever etc. Treatment is essentially symptomatic. Make sure that child gets plenty of fluids and adequate rest. Paracetamol is extremely safe to be given in case of fever, 1 teaspoon of honey after the age of 1 year is not only protective but good for treatment as well. One of the most common question is my child is repeatedly getting viral infections, is there any problem with immunity. The answer is not- as there are thousands of viruses causing similar infections your child may be getting infection from different viruses every time. After 1 viral infection the immunity definitely drops down making a child prone for second infection. My request to parents is if there is anybody suffering from viral infection especially guests not to allow them to hold infants.
The viruses stay on toys, door handles and make them fomites, therefore, wash hands of yourself and kids frequently
RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)
Chances your child will catch it: 90 percent of children are infected by age 2.
Symptoms: RSV causes common cold symptoms and in up to 40 percent of cases triggers bronchiolitis, an infection of the small airways, which leads to wheezing, rapid breathing, and a persistent cough.
Contagious? Yes, both during the incubation period (four to six days) and for three to eight days afterward.
Rx: Treat RSV as you would a cold. But call your doctor as soon as possible if your child has fast or labored breathing. He might need nebulisation or, in severe cases, could require hospitalization.
You need to know: Air irritants make RSV symptoms worse, so avoid exposing your child to cigarette smoke, wood-burning fireplaces, and perfumes.
Stomach Flu (Viral Gastroenteritis)
The incidence of gastro-enteritis is common to the extent that WHO data suggests upto 4 infection a year until age of 5 years. The symptoms of gastro-enteritis are vomiting, loose motions fever. This infection is also caused by many viruses, bacteria and parasites like Giardia. While viral infection gets better with time with symptomatic treatment, bacterial and parasitic infections require antibiotics and antiamebicidal medications. The most important thing parents need to remember is since doctors cannot stop the motions (we want whatever bug which has caused these motions to pass through stools), we need to keep filling the tank which means keep giving fluids (Coconut water, soups, ORS, Apple juice, butter milk and yogurt).
The most important things parents need to understand is that since there is infection, child may not be able to tolerate liquids, therefore, the key is keep giving small amount of liquids even 2 teaspoon every 10 mins would suffice.
Chances your child will catch it: 75 percent of kids have one by age 3.
Symptoms: Your child will likely have a fever, pull at her ears, and be irritable. She may also have trouble sleeping.
Contagious? No, but the cold that led to the ear infection probably is.
Rx: Ibuprofen or paracetamol will reduce the pain and fever. Your pediatrician may prescribe antibiotics or wait to see if the infection clears up on its own.
You need to know: An ear infection can literally appear overnight. “The ear may look perfectly fine one day, and the next day there’s a full-blown flare-up.”
Chances your child will catch it: Up to 40 percent of all kids come down with the flu each year.
Symptoms: High fever, body aches, chills, sore throat, cough, runny nose.
Contagious? Yes — your child could pass it on for about two weeks.
Rx: The best medicine is prevention: Make sure your child gets a flu shot every fall (once he’s at least 6 months old). If the virus is diagnosed within 48 hours and he’s at least a year old, your doctor may give him medicine to reduce the symptoms and duration of the illness. Otherwise, simply treat it as you would a common cold.
You need to know: Flu shots won’t completely protect your child since different strains of the virus hit every winter, but they’re still well worth getting: Kids under 2 (and those of any age who have asthma) are at high risk for complications — including dehydration and breathing problems — that may require hospitalization.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
Is common illness during this season and overcrowding like nursery, crèche, schools help in spreading the illness. The symptoms are painful, blister-like sores in the mouth and bumps on the palms, fingers, and soles of the feet, often accompanied by fever. Depending on the severity of the sores, child may not want to eat, drink, or walk. It is extremely contagious in kids, therefore, requesting parents not to send kids to school when kids have this infection.
The treatment is essentially with pain relievers and give semi-solids or fluids at neutral temperature like coconut water, cold soups, juices, buttermilk, yogurt etc. Avoid anything tart, salty, or spicy.
The name seems frightening but parents need not to worry as it doesn’t have any repercussions. The coxsackievirus which is the causative organism can remain in your child’s stool for several weeks, so wash your hands thoroughly after a diaper change.
Which is again caused by viruses and commonly affect the voice box of kids as it doesn’t have strength to bear. This viral infection of the voice box and windpipe causes a barking, seal-like cough, stridor (a harsh, high-pitched noise when your child takes a breath), and hoarseness. All tend to be more severe at night.
Contagious? The viruses that cause croup in little kids are contagious, but older children and adults who are infected are likely to just get a cold.
Rx: Run a hot shower, and have your child sit in the steamy bathroom until his symptoms ease. Taking him outside into the cold air may be even more effective at stopping the cough. Your doctor may prescribe steroids for serious cases.
You need to know: If your child seems to be having difficulty breathing or her ribs are pulling in and out with each breath, call your doctor or head for the ER right away.
Dry skin is a common condition and is often worse during the winter, when environmental humidity is low.
Moisturizing is essential during winter. Contrary to popular belief, moisturizing lotions and creams aren’t absorbed by the skin. Instead, they act as a sealant to stop the skin’s natural moisture evaporating away.
The best time to apply moisturizer is after a bath or shower while your skin is still moist, and again at bedtime.
Top tip: Have warm, rather than hot, showers. Water that is too hot makes skin feel more dry and itchy. Hot water will also make your hair look dull and dry.
- Have your child wash her hands before meals, after using the bathroom, or whenever she touches other kids, pets, or communal toys. Make sure she scrubs for 20 seconds.
- Always keep baby wipes or a sanitizing gel in your diaper bag, your purse, and the car.
- Teach your child to sneeze or cough into a tissue. If he doesn’t have one handy, he should use the crook of his elbow.
- Steer clear of toys and books in public places, which are loaded with germs.
- Don’t share personal objects with your child — including utensils, toothbrushes, cups, washcloths, towels, and combs — and don’t let siblings share them either.
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