This time of the year sees many kinds of bacteria and viruses moving around the community, and kids are particularly vulnerable to bouts of cold and flu. At some point over the next few months, your child is likely to display symptoms, but the good news is that these kinds of childhood illnesses are all part and parcel of a kid’s life and shouldn’t be a cause for too much concern in the long-term.
The Usual Suspects
Schools, kindergartens, and community groups are places where bacteria thrive, and if one kid gets sick, you can guarantee they won’t be the last. It doesn’t matter how healthy your child is in general, they tend to get colds, coughs, and upset stomachs more than a fully grown, healthy adult.
These childhood illnesses are very common, and usually won’t require a visit to the clinic:
- Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
Even though you can’t avoid your child getting sick with some of these illnesses, there are some things you can do to minimize the symptoms.
The first thing you can do is make sure that your child’s shots are up-to-date; this is particularly important when your little ones are very young as they have an underdeveloped immune system. Your pediatrician will give you a detailed schedule which follows federal guidelines.
Immunizations help out your child’s immune system develop resistance to common bugs such as the flu.
Kids love to put their hands where they shouldn’t, and younger ones, in particular, spread a lot of germs this way. This is just a lack of awareness on the part of the kids and no one’s fault. But, it is helpful if you encourage simple personal hygiene techniques when they are as young as possible.
Teaching them to wash their hands after visits to the toilet may be a challenge, but one that will create good habits. You can do this in the form of games. Also, discouraging them from biting their nails can help reduce the spread of germs. The younger child develops these good habits, the better, as they can significantly minimize the possibility of stomach upsets, worms, and the spreading of germs if they have a cold or bad stomach.
As a parent, you must not only protect your child but the wider school community.
If your kid does start displaying symptoms of the common cold, a sore stomach or other common issues associated with childhood illnesses, then the first thing you should do is make sure that they are well-hydrated. This keeps their strength up and avoids them from getting dehydrated, which can make the symptoms much worse.
Hydration is the key to helping your child recover quickly, and even if they are well, it is a good idea to teach your child the importance of drinking lots of water all the time.
Over the Counter Medicines
When your kids get colds and flu, the symptoms can be much more severe than in adults. Despite that, conservative treatments usually help them get back on their feet in no time. In fact, with most of these conditions mentioned, a visit to the clinic should only be necessary if your child’s symptoms are severe or get worse over time.
The type of treatment will depend on the symptoms and the age of your child, but your clinic can provide advice over the phone or talk with the pharmacist. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are the usual medicines for minor symptoms, and honey is an excellent choice for irritating coughs; however, be advised that it shouldn’t be used on newborns.
Alongside these treatments, you can use saline sprays for stuffy noses, Vapo-Rub for chesty colds, and electrolyte solution for fevers. If your kid has a fever, you should also do all you can to make them comfortable such as time in bed and cold compresses.
When to Call Your Pediatrician
You can call your clinic any time if you are unsure about the dosage or best methods of home treatment. However, if your child has a high fever, trouble breathing, or isn’t eating then this could be the sign of a more serious condition and you should call your doctor right away or visit the nearest ER.