KID CARE FOR COLDS AND FEVERWhy So Many Colds and Fevers?
Germs are everywhere - in the air we breathe and on the things we touch, even on toys or books. Kids pass germs among themselves all day long at school, day care and home. The result: frequent colds and fevers.
While you hate to see your child get sick, colds and fevers are a natural part of growing up. In most cases, these ailments respond well to home care. But first, learn when its important to call a doctor. If your child shows no signs or symptoms that require a doctors help, comfort care is probably all he or she needs.Comfort Care for Colds
There's no substitute for good old fashioned loving care. Beyond that, if a child hasn't had a fever for the past 24 hours and feels okay, he or she can return to regular activities at school and at play. The following suggestions should help your child get back up to speed soon. You can help prevent future colds by having your child use disposable tissues and by washing hands frequently.Ease Congestion
Steam from a shower or a cool mist vapouriser can help loosen mucus. Don't use a hot steam vapouriser with a young child, who could get burned.
Use over the counter decongestants appropriate for the child's age. Check with your pharmacist for dosage levels for young children.Soothe a Sore Throat
Offer plenty of liquids to keep the throat moist and reduce pain. Good choices include diluted fruit juice, liquid gelatine and flat soda.
Offer frozen juice bars for an added treat. They numb the throat, lessening the pain.
Give older children throat drops or lozenges to keep the throat moist and numb the pain.
Give acetaminophen (not aspirin) to relieve pain.Quiet a Cough
Serve warm fluids such as soup to help loosen mucus.
Use steam from a shower for croup (a dry, barking cough).
Use cough syrup only if the child cant sleep or is uncomfortable
Avoid all milk products, including ice cream, which increase mucus production.Comfort Care for Fevers
If your child has a fever, check his or her temperature several times a day. And try the following:
Give fluids to replace those lost through sweat. Frozen juice bars are one way to provide fluids.
If the child is uncomfortable, cool sponge baths and acetaminophen can help reduce the fever.
Never give aspirin to anyone 18 or younger.Facts About Fevers
Fevers are only a symptom of something else happening in the body. Your child can have a fever and not look or feel hot. So always take your child's temperature for at least 1 minute before deciding how serious a fever is. Here are a few more facts about fevers:
The most accurate way to take a temperature in a young child is with a rectal thermometer. Ask your doctor for instructions if you're uncomfortable using one.A fever may need medical attention if it is:
37.8°C or higher in a child under 3 months
38.3°C or higher in a child 3 to 36 months.
39.4°C or higher in a child over 36 months.
Dress your child lightly, with only enough covers to stay comfortable. You want the body to warm itself, helping it to fight infection.
Remember that exercise, eating, excitement or hot or cold drinks can all affect your child's temperature.
A child's reaction to fever varies. Your child may feel fine with a high fever or feel miserable with a slight fever.When to Call the Doctor
Most colds and fevers respond to home treatment unless there is a serious infection. Call the doctor's office if your child has any of the signs or symptoms described below:
A high fever or a fever that lasts more than 2 days, despite medication
Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
A stiff neck or headache
Persistent brown, green or bloody mucus
Signs of dehydration which include severe thirst, dark yellow urine, infrequent urination, dull or sunken eyes, dry skin and dry or cracked lips
Your child still doesn't look right to you, even after taking a non-aspirin pain reliever.