Although it is just getting really cold across the country, it feels as if we have been in full cold and cough season for awhile. The office sounds like what I call “kennel cough” as every child seems to be coughing…. even those who are just coming for check ups.
Parents often ask, “what is the best way to keep from catching a cold?” and 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 that 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 whom they share not only toys but their germs…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 both the child and parent, 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 mucus that comes with a cold and helps to prevent pneumonia and secondary infections. But, 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 children learn to cover their mouths with the crook of their arms (better than the hand). Who knew as a parent this would be a milestone for your child?
Whenever your child is sick and 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. With that being said, your child may also have a tiny little non-productive cough and be struggling to breath. In most cases the visual is more important than the audible.
To help symptoms like stuffy noses, try irrigating your child’s nose with Little Remedies® Sterile Saline Nasal Mist and then suctioning his or her nose to clear the mucus and make it easier for him or her to breath, a warm bath or shower before bed to open up airways and a cool mist humidifier in the bedroom.
Don’t panic if your child gets sick, as each time they fight off a cold and cough they are actually boosting their immune system…small victories. It is not unusual for a toddler to get 6 - 7 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 he or she doesn'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 you need to call your pediatrician! For more information on these products visit www.littleremedies.com.