Contrary to many popular beliefs although colds occur most frequently during the winter season, they are not caused by exposure to inclement weather. There are hundreds of viruses circulating in the air at any one time all of which can cause a cold. These viruses are transmitted in two ways. They can transfer through direct contact such as touching someone who already has the virus and then touching your eyes, mouth or nose. You can also acquire the virus by breathing air after someone has coughed or sneezed. All of the cold viruses are capable of surviving up to three hours outside the body.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for a cold. Antibiotics do not work, as they are not effective against viruses. Even antiviral medicines are not effective against colds. So all that can be done for a cold is to try to relieve the symptoms and make the patient as comfortable as possible. The symptoms include a runny nose, congestion in the noses, sinuses, and lungs, cough, burning eyes, sore throat, husky voice, headache, fatigue and low grade fever. Not all of these may be present in any one infection. A cold will usually last anywhere from three to five days after which most children recover completely. Only about twenty out of every thousand develop complications.

Young children may experience anywhere from eight to ten colds a year as their immunity systems are still developing. Older children usually have fewer colds. While a child's cold can normally be treated at home, you should contact your pediatrician immediately if the child has difficulty breathing, a high temperature, severe cough, severe headache or earache or a stiff neck.

The most important treatment to relieve the child's symptoms is to have them drink plenty of fluids and rest. The extra fluids will help to soothe a cough and the extra rest will strengthen the child's immune system and help it overcome the virus. Fever and sore throat pain can be alleviated by acetaminophen or ibuprofen. However, you should purchase children's Tylenol (acetaminophen) or children's Motrin (ibuprofen). Never give children adult over the counter medications even by cutting the dosage. And never give aspirin to any child under eighteen years of age because of the danger of Reye syndrome.

Gargling with salt water will also provide relief for a sore throat. To relieve congestion, let your child breathe in the hot vapors from a bowl of hot water or a steamy shower. Slowly sipping a bowl of hot soup is also beneficial for stimulating the flow of mucus and thereby relieving congestion. Coughs are helped by elevating the head of the bed while the child is resting. This is easily done by inserting folded blankets under the mattress. There are over the counter medications for children's coughs but in light of recent warnings by the Food and Drug Administration, you should consult your doctor before administering these. A cold should clear up within three to five days. If your child has not improved after this time, you need to consult your doctor. - A Survival Guide Click Here!