It might seem like your toddler or preschooler has a nose that is always runny, but experts say that’s normal.
“Children under 6 years of age average six to eight colds per year, with symptoms lasting an average of 14 days,” according to Dr. Maria Mejia, an associate professor of family and community medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “It’s very normal for children to contract illnesses frequently as their immune systems build.”
Most of these colds happen between September and April, Mejia adds. Children enrolled in daycare or school are simply exposed to a lot of pathogens, viruses and bacteria, which their less-developed immune systems just can’t fight off.
How do I know if what my child has is just a cold?
“A general rule of thumb is that if your child gets better after a week to 10 days, it was most likely a cold,” Mejia noted in a Baylor news release. “If their symptoms persist longer and/or seem to come on after exposure to certain substances or during seasonal changes, allergies are probably to blame.”
The common cold is a group of symptoms that includes runny nose, fever, sore throat, and cough. Your child may also have red eyes and swollen lymph nodes on either side of his neck.
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What is the best way to help your child?
When a child does appear to have symptoms consistent with an allergy, the primary care provider may recommend visiting an allergist or ear, nose and throat specialist.
Children who show signs of a virus should immediately see a doctor if they display one or more of a variety of symptoms, including refusing to drink anything for a prolonged period, difficulty breathing or rapid breathing, and a fever greater than 101 degrees that lasts longer than three days.
Other concerning symptoms include eyes becoming red or having a yellow discharge, or behavior changes such as irritability or lethargy/decreased responsiveness.
Symptoms of an ear infection — such as pain, fussiness or ear pulling — also means it’s time to see a doctor.
What should I do if my child’s nose is stopped up?
Nasal congestion is the most aggravating symptom of the common cold; you can expect toddlers and preschoolers to wake at night because of it. Teach your child to sniff up the mucus and swallow it as well as to blow into a tissue. A humidifier or a cool-mist vaporizer can prevent