Should I be Worried if my Child is Always Sick?
This time of the year, some parents may grow concerned that they are spending all their time at their pediatrician’s office or the pharmacy. Many young children seem to constantly battle colds, respiratory infections and every “bug” that goes around. Although any loving parents would worry, chances are there is little reason to be concerned. If you’re a parent fighting this battle, here are a few answers to the questions you have to ease your mind.
Is it allergies or a cold?
Signs of allergies in a child over two include:
constant nose rubbing
clear mucus running from nose for over a month
These symptoms definitely point to allergies if they occur during the spring or fall when pollination occurs. Depending on what the allergy is to, however, these symptoms may occur year-round. Your pediatrician can help you discover the cause of your child’s allergies.
What is the cause of my child’s cold?
You may worry your child lacks vitamins or the cold outdoors is causing their illness. Colds do not occur due to a lack of vitamins or a poor diet. Weather conditions also do not affect illnesses as we discussed in our blog, 5 Winter Health Facts.
Colds are an unavoidable part of growing up. You can’t prevent them other than avoiding coming in contact with cold germs. Although, you really shouldn’t hope to avoid colds completely. They help build up your child’s immune system.
So although it is hard to see your child under the weather, be thankful they are getting this immunity boost at a young age. Most children, even those that seem to always struggle with illness, will greatly improve by mid-elementary school. So the “good news” is your child should miss more of their less academically challenging school days during their preschool and kindergarten years as opposed to their more academically advanced years.
How many colds per year is normal for kids?
Most children start to get colds after about six months of age. This is when the immunity they received from their mom fades. After that, they have to build up their own immune system.
Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers may get as many as seven to eight colds a year! At school age, they average five to six colds a year. Teenagers and adults may have as many as four colds a year.
If you’re a parent though, you know it isn’t the only illness your child has to deal with, unfortunately. Children may have a diarrheal illness, with or without vomiting, two to three times a year too! Some children get high fevers with their colds. They may also have a sensitive tummy and develop diarrhea with cold symptoms.
What about ear infections?
If your child gets a lot of ear infections it doesn’t mean that your child has a serious health problem. This only means that the tubes in the ear aren’t draining properly. And if your child has repeated ear infections, talk to your child’s pediatrician to see if they need to see an ears, nose, throat specialist. Ear tube surgery is a simple procedure that can help many children while others will outgrow this problem before age two.
What is a sign I should be concerned about frequent child illnesses?
Consider your child’s overall health. If he is gaining weight and robust, you shouldn’t worry. Your child is no sicker than the average child of their age. Children get over colds by themselves. Although you can reduce the symptoms, you can’t shorten the course of each cold.
Many parents worry that their child has an underlying disease because they get a lot of colds. A child with health concerns does not look well in between illnesses, will experience hospitalizations and not gain weight.
A child with an immune system disease doesn’t get more colds than the average child. They will, however, experience numerous serious infections every year such as pneumonia before they are even a year old. In addition, a child with a serious disease does not gain weight very well or look well between infections.
When can my child return to school after illness?
The first five days of a virus are the hardest. Cold symptoms can often linger for two to three weeks. As long as your child is fever free for 24 hours, there is no reason she cannot attend the majority of her normal activities. Sports and gym activities may need to wait for a few additional days until he feels up to it.
Parents, hang in there! Winter bugs will be gone before you know it! If you have concerns about your child’s health, however, please reach out to a CCMH Pediatrician today.
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