Why does my toddler get so many colds?
Toddlers get a lot of colds because their immune system is still immature, making them more vulnerable to illness. After all, more than 200 different viruses can cause the common cold, and your child develops immunity to them one at a time. Think of all the colds you've had in your lifetime – your toddler would have to get all those colds to build up the level of immunity you have.
Plus, growing toddlers often touch everything as they explore, so it's easy for her to pick up a cold virus on her hands. Then she can get sick when she puts her fingers in her mouth or nose, or rubs her eyes.
Your toddler may get sick more often during the fall and winter months because cold viruses are more widespread during that time of year. She also spends more time indoors during cold weather, and close quarters mean viruses can spread more easily from one person to another.
Babies and toddlers average about eight to 10 colds each year, and children who go to daycare may have even more.
How can I herpes in toddlers photos tell if my toddler has a cold and not the flu, allergies, or some other illness?
It can be difficult to tell. If your toddler has a cold, he might have a runny nose with clear mucus that may thicken and turn gray or yellow or green over the course of a week or so. He might have a cough and congestion or a low-grade. (Chances are the congestion and cough will show up before the fever.)
How your toddler looks and acts can also offer hints: If he plays and eats pretty close to the way he usually does, then it's probably a cold.
The,, and other serious illnesses are more likely to come on abruptly. If your toddler seems very ill or lethargic, is refusing to eat or drink, is or having, or has a temperature higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, he may have.
Itchy, watery eyes and nose are classic signs of an , as are repeated sneezing attacks and itchy skin that lasts for weeks or months. Also with allergies, the mucus coming out of your child's nose will continue to run clear, rather than thickening and turning yellow or green as it tends to in children with colds. Allergies don't cause a fever, and they tend to show up in the spring, summer, and early fall.
How can I ease my toddler's cold symptoms?
There's no medicine to make a virus go away faster, but you can help your toddler feel better and prevent the infection from getting worse by making sure she gets plenty of rest and liquids.
Most children don't master until about age 4, so here are a few ways to help ease your toddler's congestion:
- Use saline and suction. It's not worth struggling over, but if your toddler tolerates it, have her lie down on her back, then squeeze over-the-counter saline drops into her nostrils to loosen up the mucus. Wait a few minutes, then suction out the liquid and mucus with a .
- Moisten the air. Use a to moisten the air in her room. Or take your toddler into the bathroom with you, turn on the hot water in the shower, close the door, and sit in the steamy room for about 15 minutes. A warm bath can accomplish the same thing.
- Elevate your child's head. Raise the head of your child's mattress a few inches by putting a crib wedge or a towel under one end of the mattress. Don't use pillows to prop up your toddler because it's a suffocation risk, and don't put anything under the legs of the crib or toddler bed because this could make it unstable.
For more safe ways to soothe your child's symptoms, see our article on
Is it safe to give my toddler over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicine?
No. should not be given to children age 3 and younger, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. These medicines aren't safe for children this age and can have dangerous or even life-threatening side effects. There's also no convincing evidence that these medicines are effective in children of any age.
If your toddler is feverish and uncomfortable, you may want to give him or. (Be sure to give him the correct dose for his weight.)
Never give your child aspirin because it makes him more susceptible to , a rare but potentially fatal complication.
What natural or alternative treatments can help relieve my toddler's cold symptoms?
Adding a few drops of menthol, eucalyptus, or pine oil to a vaporizer may help your toddler feel less congested, says Kathi Kemper, a pediatrician and director of the Center for Integrative Health and Wellness at Ohio State University. (You can get these oils at most natural food stores.) A spoonful of honey or a small cup of chamomile tea can also be soothing.
For more ways to ease your toddler's symptoms, see our complete article on .
When should I call the doctor about my toddler's cold?
Call your child's doctor if:
- Your child is younger than 2 years old and has a fever (rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) that lasts longer than 24 hours.
- Your child is 2 or older and has a fever that lasts more than three days.
- Your toddler has a rectal temperature of over 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Your toddler's cough lasts more than a week.
- Your toddler has bluish lips, a worsening cough, rapid breathing (more than 60 breaths a minute), wheezing, or gasping. These symptoms could be signs of or , a relatively common but potentially serious respiratory illness in babies and young children.
- Your toddler is pulling or rubbing her ear or crying uncharacteristically when being put to bed. This could suggest an .
- Your toddler has goopy or tearing eyes, which may be a sign of .
- Your toddler is extremely fussy, unusually sleepy, or you notice a significant change in eating or sleeping habits.
- Your toddler's condition gets worse instead of better after seven to 10 days, or her cold symptoms last for more than 14 days.
What can I do to reduce the number of colds my toddler gets?
You can't prevent every cold, but there are things you can do to minimize your child's exposure and boost his defenses:
- Be diligent about hand-washing. Make sure you before and after mealtimes, after diaper changes or trips to the potty, and any time he's been playing with other children or their toys. And make sure you wash up too – especially after changing diapers and before preparing food.
- Stay away from sick people. To the extent you can, keep your toddler away from sick children or adults. They'll understand if you ask them to postpone a visit until they're not contagious.
- Keep your toddler hydrated. Encourage your child to sip plenty of water throughout the day.
- Avoid secondhand smoke. This can put your child at higher risk for upper respiratory problems (among other health problems), so stay clear of cigarette smokers, and keep your child away from areas where someone has been smoking. have more colds and their colds last longer than those of children who aren't exposed to smoke.
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