6 Ways to Keep Kids Cold Free
It’s not a myth that young children develop colds more often than adults. “In our early age our immune systems are still developing immunity to over 100 different cold viruses—that’s why children can catch eight to 10 colds each year, especially before the age of two,” Arshia Hashmy MD, PIH Health Pediatrician.
Now that colder weather is upon us, it’s important for parents to take extra steps to keep their children healthy. Here are six tips to keep kids cold free this winter:
1. Hand washing is the best way to reduce the spread of colds. Teach your children to wash their hands properly after coughing, sneezing, wiping their nose or when coming into contact with someone with a cold. When teaching them to wash their hands, it’s important that they scrub their hands for at least 20 seconds and rinse them under clean, running water.
2. Covering their nose and mouth with tissues when they cough or sneeze can prevent germs from spreading. An alternative is teaching them to cough into their elbow or upper sleeve if a tissue is not available.
3. Wearing a sweater or jacket, especially during this time of year, is essential to staying healthy. Sweaters and jackets protect children from cold weather and will keep them warm, especially during outdoor activities.
4. Avoid sharing toys that young children put in their mouths. Sharing is caring, but not when it can spread germs. If toys are shared amongst children, make sure they are clean before giving it to the next child.
5. Staying home when a child is sick can help prevent colds from spreading. If your child attends daycare or school and you are not sure if they are well enough to go, tell the caregiver about their symptoms and they will advise with the best direction.
6. Immunizations are recommended to keep children healthy from many illnesses. While vaccines won’t prevent colds, they will help with minimizing some complications from bacterial infections.
As there is no cure for the common cold, the virus will likely last one to two weeks and will eventually go away on its own. “If your child catches a cold this winter, keep them home and offer sufficient amounts of fluids and light, nutritious meals,” says Dr. Hashmy. “Also, please do not give over-the-counter-medications to children under the age of six-years-old, unless it has been prescribed by a doctor,” she adds.
If your child needs immediate medical attention for a cold or any other infection, local residents can visit one of our PIH Health Urgent Care Centers. For locations and wait times, visit PIHHealth.org/UCC.