Childhood Diseases Common Illnesses Cold

We’re all familiar with the common cold. It’s estimated that in the United States, we experience more than a billion colds per year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American children miss more than 22 million school days every year because of the common cold virus.

Cause of the Common Cold

There are more than 200 distinct viruses that can lead to the common cold. The most common cold virus is called the “rhinovirus.” Viruses that cause colds thrive in temperatures around 91 degrees Fahrenheit, and coincidentally, this is just about the temperature of the human nose.

Colds can be spread by touching items with the cold virus on them and then touching your eyes or nose. They can also be transmitted through inhaling drops of mucus containing cold causing agents.

Despite common belief, there is no scientific evidence indicating that symptoms of cold are caused by the weather, being chilled, or overheating.

Common Cold Symptoms

Cold symptoms are varied, and we’ve all experienced most of them. Symptoms of the common cold include:

  • Coughing
  • Mild headache
  • Minor fever (under 102 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Slight body aches
  • Sneezing
  • Some fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Watery eyes.

Common Cold Symptoms - Common Cold in Children

These are the most common symptoms. Unlike the flu or other viral diseases, people usually won’t experience extremely high fevers or intense fatigue with the cold.

Common Cold Remedies

Though there is no cold cure, there are things you can do to relieve the discomfort of a cold. Common cold remedies include:

  • Chicken soup
  • Cool mist humidifier or vaporizer
  • Frequent fluids
  • Nasal sprays
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Petroleum jelly for sore nose
  • Rest
  • Throat sprays or lozenges.

Yes, some scientists have shown that chicken soup does have some effect on cold symptoms. It inhibits the movement of immune systems cells that control the body’s response to inflammation, and it increases the movement of mucus through the nose, relieving congestion. A humidifier will put moisture into the air, soothing dry nasal passages.

Water, juice and tea are the best fluids to give, and lots of rest is recommended. Cough medicines are not recommended for children under the age of 6, as there are documented risks associated with this and they are not proven to be effective. Be sure to contact your doctor if you have any questions or if symptoms such as high fever, increased mucus-producing cough, severely swollen glands or sinus pain occur.

While the common cold is bothersome and affects children more frequently than adults, it’s usually nothing to be concerned about. Follow the advice given above, give lots of love and call your child’s doctor with any concerns.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Staff. (2009). Common cold and runny nose. Retrieved December 16, 2009, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/URI/colds.html#b.

Family Doctor Staff. (n.d.). Title. Retrieved December 16, 2009, from the Family Doctor Web site: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/infections/cold-flu/073.html.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2008). Common cold definition. Retrieved December 16, 2009, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/common-cold/DS00056.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Staff. (n.d.). Common cold. Retrieved December 16, 2009, from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Web site: http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topics/commonCold/overview.htm.