Colds in children, myths and their explanations

Colds in children, myths and their explanations

Any child is prone to colds several times a year, especially when surrounded by relatives or sick friends, who spread germs around them. With the installation of the cold, your child will breathe harder, sneeze and have a poorer condition. Unfortunately, you cannot completely prevent your child from germs, but you can separate the truth from myths. Thus, you will save time and reduce your mental stress.

Medications that can be normally delivered without a prescription for adults are effective for a child's colds. Myth!

A 2007 study shows that honey is a good substitute for cough syrup for children over 2 years.

The treatment of children is different from that of adults. In some cases, adult medicines may have a poor concentration for a child. Overdose with drugs can increase the frequency of heartbeat, can cause seizures and even death. So check each drug, dose and administration before giving it to your child.

How can an overdose occur?
This usually happens when the little ones are not supervised. They can swallow dangerous pills that are within their reach. Therefore, these medicines should be stored in containers that cannot be opened by them.

Another overdose problem arises when too many people give the child medication (for example, a parent and a nanny). What to do? Make sure both people know how often you should take the medicine per day and at what dose and you can even make a daily dose schedule, in which to check after each administration.

The child may receive medicines that have the same basic substance. Therefore, read the package leaflet and do not give your child two drugs that have the same action. This generally applies to expectorants, antihistamines, ibuprofen and antitussives.

When it comes to syrups or suspensions, the dose for a child can easily be mistaken. A graduated device must be used to measure the correct dose. They usually come with the medicine.

Antibiotics are good in any cold or flu. Myth!

Treating a cold with an antibiotic is like using nose drops for a nail infection. This is because antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses, which usually cause colds and flu.

Thus, some parents mistakenly give their children antibiotics to speed up healing. Adverse effects will be significant: diarrhea and intestinal cramps. It may happen that the child's body develops antibiotic resistance, and at the time of bacterial infection, the treatment does not work. Antibiotics can only be given if the cold is bacterially complicated, such as: otitis media, bronchitis or pneumonia.

There is no difference between cold and flu. Myth!

The symptoms are similar to the flu and colds. The differences are that the flu can often be complicated by pneumonia, and the cause is different: the flu is caused by a virus, and the cold by a bacterium. Therefore, the treatment or prophylaxis is different: the diseases caused by viruses are prevented with the help of vaccines, and the necessary treatment for the diseases produced by bacteria, with the help of antibiotics.

Influenza treatment should be started from the early stage of the disease, by administering antiviral medicines, speeding up the cure for several days.

How do we differentiate a cold from the flu?

- Colds appear slowly. The first signs are: sore throat, sneezing and wheezing with a clear secretion that may turn gray, yellow or green in the following weeks. Other symptoms that may occur are: cough, mild headache, congested eyes, drowsiness and clogged nose.

- Compared to the cold, the flu has an insidious onset. The first symptoms are alarming because the child feels weak, has no appetite and is tired most of the time. Dry cough, rhinorrhea, chills, sore throat, inflammation of the tonsils and severe headaches may occur. In newborns and infants, the flu can also cause abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

- If the fever subsides quickly and the child feels better in a few days, it may have been a cold, but if the symptoms persist and after the fever subsides, we are dealing with a flu.

If you are not sure if it is a cold or flu, you can contact your doctor for more information and further analysis.

It is mandatory to see a doctor if you notice signs of colds in your child. Myth!

If it's just a cold and nothing more serious, it's good to keep the baby in the house. The treatment can also be done at home, thus avoiding it coming into contact with other germs from outside. It is recommended that you go to the doctor if you notice any complications of the cold or if you have a child under 3 months and it is his first cold.

Influenza vaccination is more important in adults than in children. Myth!

Influenza vaccination is equally important in adults as well as children. It is done annually from the age of 6 months, preferably in October or November, so that the immunization will take effect during the epidemic period.

Children under 5 years of age are more susceptible to colds, due to complications they may develop, such as pneumonia. Influenza vaccine should also be given to family members, caregivers or bone marrow that come into contact with children.

Food supplements such as zinc, vitamin C or echinacea can relieve cold symptoms. Between myth and truth!

Many people claim that if they take vitamin C or a tablet containing zinc or echinacea for immunity, the slightest symptoms of the cold disappear.

There are opinions that attest to the effectiveness of these treatments and opinions that invalidate it. There have been a lot of supplements that enhance herbal or vitamin C immunity, but the fact that they are widely known and used by many does not necessarily mean they are effective. Some can even be harmful, for example the Chinese plant huang huang, known as ephedrine, is used as a decongestant, but it can cause many adverse effects such as: high blood pressure, extrasystole, heart attack and heart attack.


Some studies have shown that zinc is almost a placebo, others that would reduce the symptoms of cold. But zinc can also have adverse effects: definitive loss of odor by using preparations such as nose drops or intoxication in its long-term administration.
C vitamin

Vitamin C has long been known as an effective treatment for colds. In fact, the therapeutic effect of vitamin C is very small, even at a dose of 200 mg daily. Adverse effects are minor: diarrhea and gastric pain. Vitamin is soluble in water and thus is not stored by the body, so it is not toxic.


When it comes to the Echinacea plant, we are also dealing with a controversial topic. Some studies show that it has no benefit, others say it would reduce the severity and duration of the cold if taken at the onset of the disease. In fact, echinacea is effective when taken preventively, this decreases the frequency of colds in a year by up to 58%.

Children who go to kindergarten or kindergarten breed easier. Myth!

It is true that in the first year a child is taken to kindergarten it cools more and faster than a child kept at home. But the frequency of colds will decrease in the next years of going to kindergarten. Early exposure to germs can also have long-term benefits. Thus, preschoolers will cool down later (up to the age of 13), because they have built immunity to many common viruses and bacteria.

Breathing the same air with a sick person is the safest way to get a cold. Myth!

It is true that viruses are transmitted by air, especially when a person coughs or sneezes, but this is not the only way someone can get a cold. Viruses can also be found on teguments. Therefore, at the mere touch of an infested object which then comes into contact with a mucosa, conjunctiva or airway can enter the body. Many viruses live up to 3 hours on skin or other surfaces.

If you are cold or you are sweating you can cool down more easily. Myth!

As I said before, only viruses cause colds. Only the cold can not trigger a cold, but the cold sensation together with sweating can activate a dormant virus in our body, causing the first symptoms to appear.

The cold usually has constricting action on the blood vessels, making it difficult to transport leukocytes to the site of infection. Many people are germ carriers in which a simple cold sensation can trigger a cold. So it is best to take care of your child not to be cold and changed every time he sweats and enters a colder environment.

After any cold, your immune system goes down. Between myth and truth!

People deal with viruses all the time: in crowded and closed spaces or simply when they come in contact with a carrier. Indeed, a decrease in immunity makes you more susceptible to colds and the symptoms can be quite alarming. But as easily as a healthy child can get any common cold virus.

If you drink milk, your body will produce more mucus. Myth!

No link was found between milk consumption and excess mucus production or other cold symptoms. So milk is not a contraindicated food during a cold.

Food is important during a cold. Truth!

Eating has been shown to strengthen the immune system in the face of a cold, while diet helps the body in the event of a bacterial infection. A sick child therefore needs at least one to fight the infection. But if he does not have the appetite, do not force him. Just make sure you give it enough liquid so that it doesn't become dehydrated.

You can get a cold from a flu vaccine. Myth!

The flu vaccine is made from live attenuated viruses (which no longer have the virus), being impossible to cause a cold.

On the other hand, adverse effects may occur during vaccination (usually any kind of vaccine) such as: subfebrility, local pain, swelling or redness of the area where the injection was made. These effects occur because of the vaccine, not the virus.

Tags Cold baby