Chicago Health | Homepage
What can you do when your child has a cold?

What can you do when your child has a cold?

The Kid’s Doctor

By Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Although it is just getting really cold across the country, it feels as if we have been in full cold and cough season for a while. The office sounds like what I call “kennel cough,” as every child seems to be coughing; even those who are just coming for checkups.

Parents often ask, “What is the best way to keep from catching a cold?” The answer continues to be: “Wash your hands, and try not to touch your hands to your eyes, nose and mouth.” Easy enough for an adult (well, maybe not), but trying to tell your toddler not to put their hands in their nose or mouth is nearly impossible! That is one reason children get so many colds in the first several years of life. Toddlers typically get the most colds, as they have just started having playmates with which they share not only toys but their germs. It’s all part of growing up.

I remind parents that coughs are there for a reason. While they are a huge nuisance, and cause a lot of sleepless nights for children and parents, a cough is there to keep the lungs clear, and a cough is actually protective. In other words, coughing helps you clear the lungs of mucous that comes with a cold; it also helps to prevent pneumonia and secondary infections. With that being said, learning to cover your mouth when you cough is not only polite, but it is also protective for others. It is a big day when your child learns to cover their mouth with the crook of their arm (better than the hand). Who knew, as a parent, this would be a milestone for your child?

Whenever your child has a cough and cold, it is important to not only listen to their cough but to actually observe how they are breathing. Parents send me videos or voicemails of their child coughing, but I am usually more interested in seeing their chest and watching their breathing. Your child may have a huge productive cough and sound terrible, but have no respiratory distress. Your child could also have a little non-productive cough and be struggling to breath. In most cases, the visual is more important than the audible.

The best treatments for a cold and cough continues to be the tried and true: Saline and suction to clear the nose of the mucous and make it easier to breath, a warm bath or shower before bed to loosen up the mucous, a cool mist humidifier in the bedroom and honey for the cough. Remember, you cannot use honey with a child under the age of 12 months.

Don’t panic if your child gets sick; each time they fight off a cold and cough, they are actually boosting their immune system. It is not unusual for a toddler to get six to seven colds in one season (and their parents get half as many as that from them). Once your child turns about 3, you will see that they don’t get a cold every other week and also seem to handle the viruses a bit more easily.

If your child has any difficulty breathing, call your pediatrician.

(Dr. Sue Hubbard is an award-winning pediatrician, medical editor and media host. “The Kid’s Doctor” TV feature can be seen on more than 90 stations across the U.S. Submit questions at http://www.kidsdr.com. The Kid’s Doctor e-book, “Tattoos to Texting: Parenting Today’s Teen,” is now available from Amazon and other e-book vendors.)

(c) 2016, KIDSDR.COM. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Similar Articles

Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap

Innovative programs provide bridge between pediatric and adult care By Nancy Maes The teen years can be

Make your diet more nutrient-dense

Make your diet more nutrient-dense

Environmental Nutrition By Matthew Kadey, M.S., R.D., Environmental Nutrition Newsletter There is only so much food you

Gluten related symptoms: Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity?

Gluten related symptoms: Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity?

The Medicine Cabinet: Ask the Harvard Experts By Howard LeWine, M.D. Q: I seem to be very

Start treatment now to prevent spring allergy symptoms

Start treatment now to prevent spring allergy symptoms

The Medicine Cabinet: Ask the Harvard Experts By Howard LeWine, M.D. Q: I have spring allergies. Every

Does your doctor’s gender matter?

Does your doctor’s gender matter?

By Robert H. Shmerling, M.D. Harvard Health Blog I've read medical research studies that surprised me. I've

Articles By Category

Family Health

In The Know

CH Lifestyle

May 2017
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
April 30, 2017 May 1, 2017 May 2, 2017 May 3, 2017 May 4, 2017 May 5, 2017 May 6, 2017
May 7, 2017 May 8, 2017 May 9, 2017 May 10, 2017 May 11, 2017 May 12, 2017 May 13, 2017
May 14, 2017 May 15, 2017 May 16, 2017 May 17, 2017 May 18, 2017 May 19, 2017 May 20, 2017
May 21, 2017 May 22, 2017 May 23, 2017 May 24, 2017 May 25, 2017 May 26, 2017 May 27, 2017
May 28, 2017 May 29, 2017 May 30, 2017 May 31, 2017 June 1, 2017 June 2, 2017 June 3, 2017

Categories

Recent Comments

Fund a Cure Night | The Griffith Family Foundation

Fund a Cure Night | The Griffith Family Foundation

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE
Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE

Archives