The fall season is upon us, and besides the leaves changing colors, this unfortunately also means cold and flu season. Many of us will, unfortunately, come down with an upper respiratory infection this season, which can also be called the common cold. While adults are prone to upper respiratory infections, it is most common in children, as they are more susceptible.
The reason children are more susceptible to the common cold is typically for two reasons, one being that they are still building up their immune systems, and two being that they are often exposed to more germs than we are at places like school, parks, etc. Younger children who attend a day care center are most prone to getting colds as they are exposed to the germs that cause them. Children can endure from 6 to 8 colds a year, although after the age of six they tend to occur less often.
The causes of the common cold in children
A child catches a cold when a virus makes its way into their bodies and causes inflammation in the lining of the nasal passages and the throat. While there are more than 200 different types of cold viruses, the most common cold-causing virus is among the rhinoviruses.
Children can catch colds in one of two ways, through the air, or by direct contact. If they are around another child who is sick, and that child sneezes or coughs, their germs become air bound. If your child comes into contact with the air bound germs by breathing them in, the virus then clings to the inner membranes of the nasal passage. If your child touches someone who has a cold, it is easy for that cold to spread to them as children very often touch their faces, nose, mouth, and eyes. Children can even catch a cold by playing with toys that picked up the germs from another infected child.
The symptoms of the common cold in children
Your child will begin to experience symptoms of a cold from 1 to 3 days of coming into contact with the virus. Typically, symptoms last around a week but have the potential to last up to two weeks. It is important to differentiate your child’s symptoms from a cold or the flu, which is why you may want to consider taking your child to a nearby urgent care in North Arlington. While upper respiratory (common cold) symptoms can be different for each child they experience the following symptoms:
- A stuffed or runny nose
- Sore or scratchy throat
- Muscle aches
- Watering eyes
- Fever (usually low-grade)
- Green or yellow mucus
Keep in mind the above are the general symptoms in older children, while the symptoms of a common cold in babies will be slightly different and often include:
- More crying and fussing than usual
- Difficulty sleeping
- Nasal congestion
Mucus discharge from the nose
- Occasionally vomiting or diarrhea
Treating the common cold in children
Although there is treatment for a cold, there is no exact “cure”. Normal, healthy children can usually recover from a cold virus on their own. The best thing you can do for your child if they are sick with a cold is to ensure that they get a lot of rest and drink a lot of fluids (i.e., water, electrolyte drinks, and soup). Ensure your child stays at home until their fever has been gone for at least 24 hours.
To lessen the symptoms of your child, you may want to try a saline nasal spray. You can also use a humidifier in your child’s room at night to help relieve their congestion. Before using any over-the-counter medicines, you should discuss it with a healthcare provider.
Taking your child to a healthcare provider
As children are growing, they are very prone to catching colds and other viruses as their bodies are naturally building up their immune systems. While the pediatrician can get quite busy, it can be difficult to get your child in to see their doctor every time they fall ill. Taking your child to an urgent care in Arlington is an excellent solution as they are more time efficient and open for much more flexible hours.
Here at Urgentology we are innovative and friendly urgent care that puts the health of you and your family as our first priority. While walk-ins are welcome, if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment ahead of time, please contact us today.
Important: If you have a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest Emergency Room. Information in this site is not intended to be used as a diagnosis for your symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, please seek medical attention or visit Urgentology Care.