Late autumn, winter, and early spring are the seasons of the greatest rise in the incidence of the so-called cold, although it is possible to get sick in all seasons. Children under the age of 6 are subject to colds – they are sick longer (on average for 14 days) and they get sick more often (up to 12 times a year!), which is almost every second day. Of course, children attending kindergarten or toddlers who have brothers or sisters of kindergarten age in the family are sick more often than “home” children. No matter how strange it may sound, most often ill children with immunity are fine. In early school age, the frequency of colds decreases sharply.
What is cold? This is an acute disease caused by viruses. There are a lot of varieties of viruses, for example, the commonest rhinovirus has about 100 types. If you catch one of them, you gain immunity against this particular virus, but the next time you may get sick again because of encountered another pathogen. The flu virus also leads to an illness that cannot be distinguished from just a cold, unless it is more severe and more likely to cause complications.
Everyone is aware of the symptoms of just cold. Those are a running nose, cough, sometimes sore throat, fever, feeling sick. It takes two weeks for the disease to last (fever – usually no more than 3 days, the cough and stuffiness in nose lasts longer) and passes by itself. How to protect yourself from a cold?
The majority of viruses are transmitted directly from a sick person to a healthy one. The fact is that viruses are able to live outside the body for up to 2 hours, for example, on the surface of the hands. When hands shivering, pathogens are transferred to another. After he touches his nose or eyes, he becomes infected, followed by a short incubation period and the disease itself. The same thing happens when in contact with surfaces (toys, dishes, clothes, furniture, door handles, etc.). Oddly enough, but only some of the viruses (such as influenza) are transmitted by inhaling microscopic particles of saliva and mucus (by sneezing and coughing). Therefore, frequent hand washing is considered a more effective method of preventing colds than wearing a mask.
Are there effective medications to prevent flu? Unfortunately not. Clinical studies of some common drugs (echinacea, vitamin C, zinc preparations) showed the absence of any effect from their use, with the exception of side effects. Recommended for use in our country, interferon preparations and other antiviral drugs have not passed blind placebo-controlled studies, so it is currently impossible to judge their effectiveness. As for the flu vaccine, it reliably (proven by numerous clinical trials) reduces the incidence of influenza, but not other acute respiratory viral infections. And since the flu often leads to complications (the most common is pneumonia), this vaccine is highly recommended for use by children under 5 years of age (in particular, the American Academy of Pediatrics gives such recommendations).
Thus, the most effective means of preventing acute respiratory viral infections is hand washing, avoiding contact with sick colds, and preventing infected aerosols from reaching the mucous membranes (eyes, nose). The most effective means of preventing flu is vaccination.
What to do if a child still gets flu? How to behave? Here are some simple rules:
- Do not walk outside until at least one day after the last temperature rise. Do not walk during temperature: clothing can enhance it;
- Do not attend children’s institutions, relatives, in general, try not to infect other people. It must be borne in mind that even after the temperature disappears, a child or an adult can secrete a virus that can infect others for another 5 days.
- Do not force-feed the child – it is better to offer the food that he loves the most, if possible, adhering to age-specific nutritional standards that fried foods with a crust, chips, and seasonings are harmful to children, even healthy ones.
- Try to increase the amount of fluid taken, but again do not drink violently. Copious drinking will not accelerate recovery, but you can spoil the mood after persistent attempts to drink water.
- The physical activity of a child with flu and being at home should not be limited – as a rule, children move a lot when they can and prefer to lie down when they feel bad. At the same time, after flu, the body needs to be allowed to recover after about a week, post-infection asthenic syndrome may be observed, which means that you will have to miss classes in the sports section.
- You can watch TV in the same way, as usual, no more than 1.5 hours a day.
About the author
Melisa Marzett is a freelance writer who is currently writing for www.essay-editor.net/. She is a traveler who enjoys many things such as meeting new people, gaining experience and sharing what she knows and can with others. She loves helping people in a moment of need because she believes that kindness is at the heart of everything.