How should a parent care for a child with the common cold?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,380
    Robin Vick, Assistant Director of Nursing at the Continuum Pediatric Nursing Services, discusses the basic recommendations to help care for a sick child at home including how a parent should care for a child with the common cold.

    Host: How should a parent care for a child with the common cold?

    Robin Vick: The thing with colds is that there are viruses and the viruses are very distinct from bacteria in that you can't treat them with a medicine that will get rid of that virus. That's one of the distinctions between a virus and the bacterias that there is no medicine to cure it. So basically what we have to do is just maintain comfort, keep the child as free of sinus mucus as possible and there is a couple of ways to do that, but mainly depends on the age of the child.

    Older kids, you can help them to learn how to blow their nose. Some kids have a little unfamiliar with how to do that and had been helping the child to know how to apply a tissue to the nose and help to blow, to clear out the nose, is going to be very helpful thing. For other kids who can't blow their nose, are too young, help them to remove some of the secretions with the bulb syringe for babies especially, is really helpful.

    Some kids benefit by having those secretions just a little bit liquefied by mixing. You can mix up a little bit of like an eight of tea spoon of salt and a quarter of water and use your bulb syringe to just gently instill couple of drops of saline in the nose while the child sitting up and then apply the bulb syringe to get the secretions to come back out.

    Fever is going to be a common component of lots of colds as its discomfort. Again, I am going to recommend that you get in touch with your health provider to know how he or she would likely to manage fever or discomfort by the use of Tylenol or some other product. Whenever the child is sick, the body's need for fluids gets even higher than it is during healthy periods and the thing with being sick though, is that usually the child doesn't have the appetite to eat and so it's important for the family to offer as we talked about before, very small regular offerings of PO fluids, things that the child can drink.

    It's baby in a bottle, if it's a child who can take fluid through a cup, frequent offerings of different fluids are going to be important again. Juices are great, Pedialyte, if your doctor recommends it, is something also very helpful. Lot of families sometimes use Pedialyte and juices together, makes it more palatable for the children. Teas and things like that also contain a lot of nutrients and electrolytes which are really important for kids when they are not feeling well. Humidity is very important in maintaining over all improvement in kids who have colds. The thing about humidity though, is that, warm humidity has the potential to brew bacteria, so whenever a parent applies humidity -- there are some great humidifiers out there in the market and cool humidity is a wonderful wonderful device for a family to use. When a child is sleeping, during nap time and bedtime having the cool humidifier there in the room will help them to sleep much, much more comfortably, but no hot humidity, no warm aerosoling because that will promote the growth of bacteria.

    And again no Over-The-Counter medications for sinus, congestion or anything like that, too strong and not dosed appropriately for kids. Always, get the advice from your doctor.

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