Does anyone else feel like parenting is 99.9% caring for sick kids? During the winter months especially it’s an endless cycle: you care for your kiddos, they’re fine for five minutes, then somehow sneezing all over again — sometimes directly in your mouth. (The joys of parenting.)
Good news: you’re definitely not alone! Because kiddos immune systems are developing, they often catch colds as our resident #AskAPediatrician Dr. Kristin Struble explains. Below she covers everything you’ve ever wanted/needed/never hoped to know about colds, from what causes them to tips that can keep the rest of your fam healthy.
What causes the common cold?
(Not so) fun fact: it’s caused by many different viruses (which are germs that the body must fight on its own).
What are the symptoms of a cold?
All the usual suspects: congestion, runny nose and sometimes a low-grade fever. They can interfere with sleep due to discomfort, and can result in a decreased appetite.
Why is my kid *always* sick?
Unfortunately, colds don’t discriminate against seasons! Because babies’ immune systems are still developing, they catch colds much more frequently in their first year. In fact, the average child will develop 10 to 12 colds during that time frame! It is not uncommon for children to develop secondary bacterial infections with viruses, such as ear and/or sinus infections.
How do you “treat” a cold?
Hydration is key when fighting a virus! For kids over 1 year old, I recommend warm or even cold chamomile tea with honey and lemon. For kids under 1 year old, it’s important to give them breast milk, formula or a combination of those two.
What products should I use?
FYI, cold products don’t help the body fight the actual infection or virus! Instead, they can simply provide relief while the body does its job. For those reasons, choose products with soothing ingredients that aren’t full of artificial chemicals and additives.
How can I prevent my child from getting a cold?
Keeping their “gut” nice and happy with healthy food choices will help prevent disease. Give your little one a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, keep them hydrated and avoid processed foods and drinks as much as possible.
Do supplements help?
One study has shown that taking a probiotic throughout the winter also decreases the potential for illness. Why? Likely because it assists in better gut health. I commonly recommend a daily multivitamin to patients, too. Don’t forget! A good hand washing helps prevent the spread of a virus.