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An upper respiratory infection (URI), also known as the common cold, is one of the most common illnesses, leading to more health care provider visits and absences from school and work than any other illness every year. Caused by a virus that inflames the membranes in the lining of the nose and throat, colds can be the result of more than 200 different viruses. However, among all of the cold viruses, the rhinoviruses cause the majority of colds.

Facts about an URI or cold:
Most children will develop at least 6 to 8 colds a year. This number increases for children who attend day care.
Colds may occur less frequently after the age of 6.
Adults get colds about 2 to 4 times a year.

When is the "cold" season?
Children are most likely to have colds during fall and winter, starting in late August or early September until March or April. The increased incidence of colds during the cold season may be attributed to the fact that more children are indoors and close to each other. In addition, the humidity drops during this season, making the nasal passages drier and more vulnerable to infection.

What causes the common cold?
There are many different types of viruses that cause the common cold. In fact, over 200 different varieties of viruses can cause the symptoms of a cold. The most common viruses that cause colds are called rhinoviruses. Other virus types include coronavirus, parainfluenza, adenovirus, enterovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus.
After the virus enters your child's body, it causes a reaction — the body's immune system begins to react to the foreign virus. This, in turn, causes:

• An increase in mucus production (a runny nose).
• Swelling of the lining of the nose (making it hard to breath and causing congestion).
• Sneezing (from the irritation in the nose).
• Cough (from the increased mucus dripping down the throat).

How did my child catch a cold?
In order to catch a cold, your child must come in contact with 1 of the viruses that cause a cold, from someone else who is affected. The cold virus can be transmitted in the following ways:

Through the air. If a person with a cold sneezes or coughs, small amounts of the virus can go into the air. Then, if your child breathes in that air, the virus will adhere to your child's nasal membrane.

Direct contact. This means that your child directly touched a person that was infected. A cold is easy for children to spread because they touch their nose, mouth, and eyes often and then touch other people or objects and can spread the virus. It is important to know that viruses can be spread through objects, such as toys, that have been previously touched by someone with a cold.

What are the symptoms of a common cold?
The symptoms of a cold start from 1 to 3 days after your child has been in contact with the cold virus. Usually, the symptoms last about one week, but this varies in each child, and may last even up to 2 weeks. The following are the most common symptoms of a cold. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

• Unable to sleep
• Fussiness
• Congestion in the nose
• Sometimes vomiting and diarrhea
• Fever

Older children:
• Stuffy, runny nose
• Scratchy, tickly throat
• Watery eyes
• Sneezing
• Mild hacking cough
• Congestion
• Sore throat
• Achy muscles and bones
• Headaches
• Low grade fever
• Chills
• Watery discharge from the nose that thickens and turns yellow or green
• The symptoms of the common cold may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's health care provider for a diagnosis.

How is the common cold diagnosed?
Most common colds are diagnosed based on reported symptoms. However, cold symptoms may be similar to certain bacterial infections, allergies, and other medical conditions. Always consult your child's health care provider for a diagnosis.

Treatment for the common cold
It is important to remember that there is no cure for the common cold and that antibiotics will not help treat a common cold. Medications are used to help relieve the symptoms, but will not make the cold go away any faster. Therefore, treatment is based on helping the symptoms and supportive care. Specific treatment will be determined by your child's health care provider based on:
Expectations for the course of the disease
Your opinion or preference
Treatment may include the following:
Increased fluid intake. This will help keep the lining of the nose and throat moist and help to prevent dehydration.
Avoidance of second hand smoke. Keep your child away from passive (secondhand) smoke, as this will increase the irritation in the nose and throat.

To help relieve the congestion and obstruction in the nose for younger children, consider the following:
• Saline nose drops may be used.
• Use a bulb syringe to help remove the mucus.
• Place a cool mist humidifier in the room.
• Analgesics, such as acetaminophen, are sometimes helpful in decreasing the discomfort of colds.

Can I prevent my child from getting colds?
Taking proper preventive measures can reduce the risk of your child developing a cold. Preventive measures may include the following:
• Keep your child away from a person with a cold.
• Encourage your child to wash his or her hands frequently and not to touch his or her mouth,.eyes or nose until their hands washed
• Make sure toys and play areas are properly cleaned, especially if multiple children are
Playing together

What are the possible complications from having a cold?
• Ear infections
• Sinus infections
• Pneumonia
• Throat infections.

When to meet your health care provider?
Contact your health care provider if your child has:
• A fever greater than 100.4°F (38°C)
• Symptoms lasting more than 10 days
• Poor feeding / lethargy
• Difficulty in breathing
• Unexplained symptoms

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