Cold & Flu

Common colds and the flu are illnesses caused by viral infections that target the respiratory tract, including the nose and throat. Your child may become infected with these viral infections by touching infected surfaces, sharing personal items, or inhaling saliva droplets that carry the virus.

These viruses spread more during the winter since they can survive longer in colder temperatures, and the body’s ability to fight infections decreases.

Common colds and the flu are highly contagious, which is why encouraging your child to take preventative measures is essential to avoid becoming infected. These steps include avoiding sharing food, getting yearly flu vaccinations, and washing hands with soap after playtime and before mealtime. 

Understanding Common Colds in Children

A cold occurs when viral particles come into contact with the delicate lining of the nose and throat, causing irritation, fever, and body aches. Among the 200 viruses that can cause a common cold, rhinoviruses are typically the most widespread. 

Rhinoviruses (RVs) are the most common viral infection agents in humans and are often responsible for the common cold season during cold temperatures. 

Your child may come in touch with these when playing with infected children, touching contaminated toys, or sharing personal items. 

Symptoms of Common Colds

Common cold symptoms may vary depending on the virus that caused it and your child’s age. These often include:

  • Stuffy and runny nose
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Sore throat and earaches
  • Mild fever
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Irritated eyes

Treatment for Common Colds

Since common colds don’t have specific cures, help your child rest and feel comfortable at home while waiting for their symptoms to subside. 

Here are some useful tips:

  • If fever or body aches appear, use paracetamol or ibuprofen (for children over three) as instructed.
  • Do not force-feed your child. Let them eat whenever their appetite returns.
  • If your child is old enough, give them a small spoon of honey at night to help soothe coughing. 
  • Encourage them to get plenty of rest and keep them well-hydrated.
  • Avoid unnecessary antibiotic use, as they may not help and could even cause diarrhea. 

Understanding the Flu in Children

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a viral infection that targets the air passages in the lungs. It is caused by influenza virus, which are of two types:

  • Influenza type C: This is the most common type of flu virus, causing mild symptoms that may last up to a week. 
  • Influenza types A and B: These two types of flu virus may cause more severe symptoms and may need specialized medical attention. 

The flu viruses spread through sneezing, coughing, and touching contaminated objects. Since the flu is highly contagious and the risk of infection significantly increases as temperatures drop, preventative measures like handwashing and annual vaccinations are highly encouraged. 

Symptoms of the Flu

Flu symptoms tend to be slightly more intense than common cold symptoms. These may include:

  • Fever with chills
  • Headache and body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose 
  • Coughing
  • Lack of appetite
  • Stomach ache with nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tiredness

Treatment for the Flu

Treatment for the flu focuses on managing its symptoms and reducing the risk of hospitalization. If your child has caught the virus, your doctor may suggest:

  • Antiviral medicine: If started quickly, this helps reduce the intensity of the symptoms while reducing the risk of ear infections or the need for hospitalization. 
  • Tylenol: It aids in lowering body temperature and alleviating muscle aches and chills.

Remember that aspirin is never suggested for children, as it may cause Reye’s syndrome. Medication is always most helpful when taken as soon as symptoms appear. This is why seeking medical attention as soon as you notice indicative signs is essential. 

It is also important to ensure your child gets lots of rest and stays well-hydrated to help them recover sooner. 

When to Call Your Pediatrician

An illness that may look like a common cold can turn out to be the flu or a more severe condition, like pneumonia or strep throat. When in doubt, it is best to visit your pediatrician to identify the underlying cause of your child’s symptoms. 

Although respiratory illnesses like a cold or the flu rarely lead to complications, keep an eye out for the following signs in your child since they might need urgent medical attention.

  • Intensified symptoms
  • Cough with phlegm
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fever above 105° F
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Blue tone on face and lips
  • Trouble staying awake
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Changes in urine color

Preventing Colds & Flu

Prevention is the most effective measure against the spread of the virus. Annual influenza vaccinations are essential to avoid contagion during respiratory virus season. Remember that flu shots not only protect your children but the entire community. 

You can also help protect your child from catching a cold or the flu by adopting safety measures, such as:

  • Washing hands thoroughly before eating and after playing with other children
  • Using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Keeping common surfaces clean with alcohol wipes
  • Covering mouth and nose properly when sneezing or coughing
  • Avoiding sharing water bottles, food, and utensils with other children

Cold & Flu Treatment for Your Little Ones in Beverly Hills

From common illnesses and allergies to chronic conditions, we’ve got your child’s health fully covered. Our expert pediatricians at Robertson Pediatrics deliver the top-notch care your family deserves. 

We offer same-day visits in our clinic in the heart of Beverly Hills. For appointments, please call us at 310-659-8687 or contact us online.

150 N Robertson Blvd, Ste 307
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Phone: 310-659-8687
Fax: 310-659-2420

Working Hours
Monday-Friday
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Concierge Patients have direct access 24/7 and will be accomodated with home/office visits as needed.
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