Why does my child catch so many colds?





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Published on Dec 17, 2009

There are at least 200 different known cold viruses that your child can be exposed to

What you should know:
•A child's immune system is weak
•An average toddler can have 6-12 viral infections
•A super-infection can result from common colds

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Hi, I'm Kenisha Carr and I'm a CVS pharmacist. If your child gets colds often, you're probably wondering why. Well, there are at least 200 different known cold viruses that your child can be exposed to. Over time, your child has to develop immunity to each virus one cold at a time, which is why your child may get more colds than you do. The average toddler can have six to twelve viral infections in a year. School-aged children have fewer infections, and the number drops to about three a year for teens.
You can teach your children ways of preventing a cold, much like you do for yourself. Encourage them to wash their hands frequently. Cold viruses are spread by bodily fluids that penetrate the protective mucus membranes of the eyes, nose, and throat. The virus can survive a few hours on hands, tissues, countertops, and toys. Teach your children to cover their mouths and noses when they cough or sneeze with a tissue. Also make sure they don't touch their eyes and noses, especially when they're around people with colds, so they don't catch any germs that might get them sick.
If symptoms go beyond those of a common cold, or it lasts three days, or there is a fever of over 100 degrees, you may be dealing with a super-infection, which is a bacterial infection on top of a virus and you should definitely talk with your doctor. If the bacterial infection includes a stiff neck, wheezing, a sore throat, and a high fever or difficulty breathing, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help fight the bacteria. Also, call your doctor if you notice a change in your child's cold symptoms or observe any of these symptoms: a stiff neck, complaints of ear pain, thick yellow or green discharge for more than ten days, and headaches and pressure over the forehead and under the eyes. This could be a sign of infection, such as strep throat or pneumonia.
If you have any questions, talk to your CVS pharmacist. We're here to help.

Source: CVS Caremark Health Resources

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