Cold viruses reach kids via droplets in the air when a sick person coughs or sneezes. Kids also pick up colds through direct contact with sniffy friends or by touching germy surfaces.
Getting your child a yearly flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu. You can also reduce their risk of cold or flu by teaching your baby to wash their hands frequently with soap and warm water. They also need to avoid putting their hands and other non-food items in their mouth.
While there’s no cure for a cold, you can make your child more comfortable when they have one. Give them medicine for pain and fever as suggested by your doctor. Salt water gargles can ease a sore throat and steam helps clear congestion. If cold symptoms are accompanied by a high fever, severe muscle aches and exhaustion, your child may have the flu. Talk to the doctor about other ways to ease symptoms.
COMMON HAND, MOUTH DISEASE
Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common viral illness that most often affects babies and children under age 5. Symptoms include fever, mouth sores and skin rash.
Viruses that cause hand, foot and mouth disease are passed in saliva, nasal mucus, fecal matter and fluid from mouth blisters of infected people. Your child can also catch it by touching anything touched by a person who has it.
There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease. Since it’s caused by a virus, antibiotics aren’t called for. But there are things you can do to help ease your child’s symptoms. Give medicine for pain and fever as suggested by your doctor. Your doctor may recommend using analgesic mouthwashes and sprays to numb painful mouth sores. If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms, call the doctor.
‘Stomach flu’ isn’t actually the flu (influenza) but gastroenteritis, an upset stomach usually caused by a virus. Symptoms may include cramps, diarrhea, fever and vomiting. They can also include a rash. They usually improve within a few days.
Your child can get gastroenteritis through close contact with someone who has it or by eating food that’s been prepared or touched by someone who has it.
Try to keep your child away from people who have the stomach flu. Teach him to wash his hands frequently, particularly before eating and after using the bathroom. Teach them not to put the fingers in their mouth.
There is no specific treatment for stomach flu. Give your child extra fluids to make sure he stays well hydrated. He/she should also rest. Avoid spicy foods and fried foods. Give small amounts of bland foods like toast, crackers, rice or bananas at first. You may even consider adding a probiotic to increase the healthy and normal bacteria in the gut. Then go back to the regular diet, but feed small amounts frequently. If you think your child is not drinking enough or voiding enough (a child 1 year or older needs to void at least once every four hours) call your doctor. If your little one is less than 1 year and has vomiting or diarrhea, consult your doctor.
Most children have at least one middle ear infection by age 2. Cold or allergies can cause bacteria to grow in a child’s middle ear, blocking the Eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ear to the throat. This may cause pain, fever and sometimes, difficulty in hearing.
Although children can’t catch ear infections from other children, they can catch cold, which make ear infections more likely.
To reduce the risk of ear infections, help your child keep a healthy distance from people who are sick, and wash their hands frequently. Avoid exposing them to cigarette smoke, which can increase the risk of ear infection. And do not let them drink from bottles while lying down.
If your child has pain and fever from an ear infection, give medicine for pain and fever as suggested by your doctor. He may need antibiotics, although many ear infections go away on their own in children older than 2 years of age. Most ear infection symptoms go away in a few days after antibiotics are started.
Conjunctivitis is an irritation of the eye and lining of the eyelid. Symptoms may include itching, burning, redness, increased tearing or discharge, sensitivity to light and crusting on the lid or lashes.
Viruses, bacteria, allergens or irritants can cause Conjunctivitis. When a virus or bacteria is the cause, children can catch it easily by touching a contaminated surface and then touching their eyes.
To protect your children and yourself, wash hands frequently with soap and warm water. In case of unavailability of these use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Do not allow children to share towels, pillows, washcloths or other items with someone who is infected. If you or someone else in your home have Conjunctivitis, wash pillowcases, sheets, washcloths and towels in hot water and detergent to avoid spreading it.
Mild conjunctivitis often gets better on its own. Artificial tears and cold packs can help relieve dryness and inflammation. If your child has eye pain, fever, vision problems, headache or intense redness or he is not better within a couple of days, always call the doctor.