They’re sneezing, coughing and blowing their nose every few seconds… I know, it can be really unnerving to watch your child go through such discomfort.
With over 200 different types of cold viruses circulating around, it is almost inevitable to protect your family completely from the cold. But fret not; we have simple solutions from medical experts for you to lower the risk of your child catching the cold!
- Common Cold 101
“The common cold refers to viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that results in symptoms such as runny nose or nasal congestion, sneezing, cough, sore throat and fever”, shares Dr Wendy Sinnathamby, Specialist in Paediatrics & Consultant at Raffles Children’s Centre.
Adding on, Dr Sinnathamby states that based on her experience, young children who are not attending nursery or kindergarten can get up to nine colds per year. The figure increases for those who attend nursery or kindergarten to about 12 colds annually.
How does one catch the cold virus? Well, it’s simple. According to Dr Charlottle Yung, Family Physician atThe Chelsea Clinic, it’s from another person with a cold. “If the sick person sneezes or coughs, the virus then travels through their air and you can catch it. Another way is through contact with surfaces where the cold viruses have landed on.”
This means that if the sick person blows his nose and touches the door knob without washing his hands, the cold virus is then spread to the knob. So, if you happen to be the next person touching the same door knob and rub your hands around the nose and mouth area, you will then get the cold.
Children are such cold magnets, and the reason is due to the fact that they have not been exposed to the variety of cold-causing viruses compared to adults in their lifetime.
Concurringly, both of our experts further add that with the lack of exposure, children have fewer antibodies against these viruses making them more susceptible to the infections as compared to adults, who are more immune to the viruses due to the bank of antibodies they’ve built up over the years which enables them to ‘fight’ off many of the cold viruses.
- Staying Cold-free
- Teach your children proper hand washing with soap and water and reinforce this.
- Teach your children to avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands and avoid placing objects in their mouth.
- Keep children away from those who are sick.
- Avoid cigarette smoke in the house.
- Always be responsible and discard used tissues after you blow your nose, preferably in a covered receptacle so as to stop the virus from spreading around.
- Carry around a hand sanitizer if you don’t have the chance to wash your hands with soap and water all the time.
- If you are coughing or sneezing a lot, wear a mask.
- If the sick person doesn’t wear a mask, encourage your child to wear it.
- Lead a healthy lifestyle – eat a well-balanced diet, exercise and rest well.
“Doing so will build your immune system, and that would go a long way in preventing you to catch the cold. A lot of children, especially in primary school do not sleep enough and that really lowers their resistance as they stay up very late,” Dr Yung points out.
- Get your little one vaccinated against the flu virus – while it is not 100 per cent, it will cut at least cut down your child’s chances in getting the flu and falling sick.
You should also encourage the infected child to avoid kissing and touching their healthy siblings and avoid sharing utensils with infected child or if you are infected yourself. What are some other ways you protect your child from catching the cold bug? Leave us a comment down below.