No wonder it's called the common cold -- the average child suffers between six and 10 colds per year. Cold symptoms -- including sore throat, cough, sneezing, and fatigue -- can last for a few days to a few weeks.
How it spreads. Cold viruses reach kids via droplets in the air when a sick person coughs or sneezes. Kids also pick up colds through direct contact with sniffly friends or by touching germy surfaces -- like toys or classroom desks -- and then touching their face, especially their mouth or eyes.
Prevention. Getting your child a yearly flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu. You can also reduce her risk of cold or flu by teaching her to wash her hands frequently with soap and warm water. Children should also learn to avoid close contact and sharing food and utensils with other people.
Treatment. While there's no cure for a cold, you can make your child more comfortable when she has one. Give her acetaminophen for pain and plenty of fluids. Salt water gargles can ease a sore throat and steam helps clear congestion. If cold symptoms are accompanied by a high fever, severe muscle aches, and exhaustion, your child may have the flu. Talk to her doctor about other ways to ease symptoms.
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