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Q: What should I do when my child has a cold?

Posted October 09, 2013 in Advice Column, Norwalk

A: Children can get eight colds a year or more. The common cold sends more children to the doctor than any other illness. Most colds are caused by a specific type of virus found in the air and on the things that we touch. The prescription for the common cold is simple: time, rest and lots of TLC.

Signs and symptoms are stuffy or runny nose, with mucus that may start out watery but then turn thick yellow or greenish, an itchy or sore throat, sneezing, cough and mild headache. Other signs to look for are mild fever, feeling tired and a loss of appetite. What you can do to help ease discomfort is the use of acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed, saline drops for the nostrils, a cool mist humidifier or steamy bathroom and offer lots of fluids but no caffeinated beverages. The use of cough and cold medicine is fine as long as you use it as instructed on the packaging.

You should seek medical care if your child(ren) has cold symptoms that get worse or last more than one week, a barking cough or a severe cough and occurs in spasms, difficulty breathing or a bad headache. You should also contact your physician if your child has a high fever and appears ill or any fever in a baby 3 months of age and younger and finally, a sore throat that makes eating and drinking difficult.

Always think prevention. Remind your child(ren) to stay away from children or adults who have colds, wash their hands well and often and remember to sneeze and cough into tissues or shirtsleeves, not hands.

Information from “Your Growing Child,” submitted by Ronda Montgomery, Norwalk Family Physicians 801 Colonial Circle, 285-3200.

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