How Many Colds Per Year Is Normal for Children?

It’s the time of year when you wonder if your child will ever be healthy again. They get sick over and over and over. Is there a time to worry that colds and other infections are becoming too frequent?

Children start to get colds after about six months of age when the immunity they received from their mom fades, and they have to build up their immune system. Some children seem always to have sniffles. They get one cold after another after another. And many parents wonder, “Isn’t my child having too many colds? Is there something wrong with their immune system?”

Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers get about seven to eight colds a year. And during school age, they average five to six colds a year. Teenagers finally reach an adult level of four colds a year.

And in addition to colds, children get lovely diarrhoea illnesses, with or without vomiting, two to three times a year. Some children tend to get high fevers with most of their colds, have a sensitive tummy and develop diarrhoea with the cold symptoms.

Why Does My Child Get So Many Colds?

Your child is getting all those infections because they are exposed to new viruses. The viruses are everywhere, no matter how much you sanitise and clean. There are at least 200 different cold viruses, and they’re getting tricky, mutating all the time.

Your child’s body will build up defences or immunity against these viruses when exposed to them, but this takes time. It takes many years to build up immunity to viruses. Your child will be exposed to more if they attend daycare or preschool. Older brothers and sisters are also significant vectors to bring home a virus from school.

Colds are more common in large families as the virus rounds through the house. The rate of colds triples in the winter. Not because of the cold air, but because people spend more time indoors in crowded areas, breathing re-circulated air. Smoking in the home also increases your child’s susceptibility to colds.

Is It a Cold or Allergies?

Allergies are more accessible to treat than frequent colds because medications can help control the symptoms. If your child is over two, sneezes a lot, rubs their nose all the time and has a clear runny nose that lasts over a month and doesn’t have a fever, your child may have allergies. This is especially true if these symptoms occur during pollen season, meaning the spring and the fall. But depending on what the allergy is to, they can have symptoms any time of the year. And your paediatrician can help you figure this out.

Parents often wonder if a child is sick because they lack vitamins or because it’s cold outside. Colds are not caused by a poor diet or a lack of vitamins. They are not caused by bad weather, air conditioners, wet feet or hair, or playing outside without a coat on. Having all these colds is an unavoidable part of growing up. Colds can’t be prevented, no matter what you see on TV or read on the Internet. They help build up your child’s immune system.

Also, if your child gets a lot of ear infections, it doesn’t mean that your child has a severe health problem; this means only that the tubes in the ear aren’t draining properly. And if your child has repeated ear infections, talk to your child’s paediatrician to see if they need to see an ears, nose, or throat specialist.

Many parents are worried that their child has some underlying severe disease because they get a lot of colds. A child with an immune system disease doesn’t get any more colds than the average child. The difference is that the child with an immune problem will have trouble recovering from the illness, and they are often hospitalised for a long time as a result. They will also have numerous serious infections every year, such as pneumonia or boils on the skin many times before they are even a year old. In addition, a child with a severe disease does not gain weight very well or look well between infections.

So how can I take care of my child with all these viruses they get? First, look at your child’s general health. If your child is vigorous and gaining weight, you don’t have to worry about their health. Your child is no sicker than the average child of their age. Children get over colds by themselves. And although you can reduce the symptoms, you can’t shorten the course of each cold.

Your child will muddle through like every other child, and the long-term outlook is good. The number of colds will decrease over the years as your child’s body builds up a good antibodies supply to the various viruses. By the time they are in the middle of elementary school, their bodies will know how to fight these viruses pretty darn well.

When Should I Send My Child Back to School After a Cold?

Next, send your child back to school as soon as possible. I know schools are picky about how many days a child can miss before the truancy police get involved. But the main requirement for returning your child to daycare or school is that the fever should be gone for a least 24 hours and the symptoms are not too noisy or distracting to classmates or the student themselves. It doesn’t make sense to keep a child home until you are sure they will not spread germs.

The average length of time a cough lasts with these viruses is 18 days. The first five days of a virus are the worst, but the cold symptoms can linger for two to three weeks. So as long as your child’s fever is gone, there is no reason they can not attend other activities such as parties, play dates, or school. Gym and team sports may need to be postponed for a few days until they feel up to the physical activity.

There are no instant cures for recurrent colds or other viral illnesses. Antibiotics are not helpful unless your child has developed complications such as an ear infection, sinus infection, or pneumonia. Having your child’s tonsils removed is not beneficial because bad tonsils do not cause colds. Again, while it’s hard in the short term, the best time to have these infections and develop immunity is during childhood.

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