Children and the Common Cold

Michelle Verne

One of the problems most of us can relate to is when one of our children gets the common cold. Before every semester starts I decide on an emergency back up plan, in case one of my kids comes down with a cold and can’t make it to school or daycare. But, nobody really wants to take care of kids with colds. According to the website,, most kids get eight colds per year. Colds are contagious two to four days after symptoms appear and can continue to be contagious for up to three weeks.

Unfortunately, in my situation my kids will come down with a cold the night before a test day, or on a day when an important paper must be turned in. A cold can last one to two weeks, so one of the first things I do is make professors aware of my situation so that when classes are missed I normally get the chance to make up the work. Also, I recommend exchanging e-mails and/or phone numbers with a classmate in order to keep up with what happened in class on the days you’ve missed.

It’s hard to get rid of a cold once the infection has entered the system, but there are tips to give children in order to help them from catching the common cold, such as: Stay away from people who smoke or have colds, clean hands thoroughly and often, when sneezing or coughing cover nose and mouth with the shirt sleeve, don’t eat or drink after anyone else, and don’t pick up other people’s tissues.

If your child does end up with a cold, there are several ways to relieve the pain and congestion. When using medicine, make sure to contact your child’s physician first, so that he/she can give the best recommendation. A cool mist humidifier, a warm bath, or steam from a hot shower can help to clear heavy congestion. Also, drink a lot of fluid including juices and water in order to maintain hydration. Have a safe, happy and healthy spring break. In future issues I’ll discuss things to do with kids during summer and goals after graduation.