‘Tis the season to stock up on paper. No, we don’t mean gift wrap but facial tissue.
We got the scoop from Dr. Jeremy Friedman, Head of Pediatric Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children and co-author of Caring for Kids on avoiding and managing the common cold.
Fact: On average, adults get 2 to 3 colds per year, and children a whopping 5 to 7.
Myth: Cold temperatures cause people to get more colds in the winter (sorry, Mom, the scarf thing is an old wives’ tale).
Fact: Spending more time indoors allows viruses (there are more than 200 of them!) to spread more easily from person to person.
Typical Symptoms: A stuffed/runny nose, headache and tiredness. Sore eyes, sore throat, and hoarseness are also experienced. However, fevers are infrequent (that’s usually the flu) and the cold does not usually affect the chest. Parents often underestimate the duration of a cold—while for older children and adults, symptoms may only last a few days, a week to even two in younger children is to be expected.
Prevention (An Ounce of Which is Worth a Pound of Cure)
Picture This: Colds are spread by hand-to-hand contact and inhaling droplets in the air contaminated with the cold virus (like from someone else’s sneeze). Yuck!
Fact: Cold viruses can live for hours on toys or furniture, so be especially careful when you take your child to the doctor’s office that you wash his hands after playing in the waiting room!
How To: Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose and wash your hands and your little one’s hands too (with soap, all over, for 20 seconds, rinse for 10 seconds, use a clean towel to dry them—you know, the proper way) frequently. Minimize close contact with people who have a cold or the flu, and (we know, easier said than done—back to hand-washing here as a back-up plan) eat well and get plenty of rest. (One Savvy Scout even has a rule that all children must wash their hands upon entering her house!)
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