Flu, Cough and Cold: Causes and How to Avoid Them

Flu, Cough and Cold: Causes and How to Avoid Them

A change in season invariably results in our children falling ill, with cold and cough and flu. The regular signs are a runny nose, an itchy throat, sneezes and fever. Our baby is miserable (and so are we).  Let’s address each of these individually.

  1. Cold:

The Rhinovirus is the most common cause of cold. Cold usually lasts between 5 to 10 days. Our child, at the onset of the illness, tends to feel unwell and then has a sore throat. Cough is one of the closest ‘friends’ of cold.

  • Cold is super contagious. So our child can get it from his best friend.
  • He can get sick by coming in contact with a germ infested surface, a door knob, a chair and so on.
  • The best form of defense is personal hygiene and washing hands frequently. You need to inculcate this habit in your child. My son, for instance knows that he needs to wash his hands before eating, each time he visits the restroom, when he gets back home after playing and so forth.
  • If your child has a cold, it is best not to send him to school so that other children do not catch it. Moreover, your baby is weak and prone to infections, so it is best for him, too.  It would be great if you could teach your child to cover his mouth while sneezing and use a tissue. Try to avoid over the counter medication and consult your paediatrician if your child’s symptoms worsen.


  1. Cough:

The sound of my son coughing makes me want to cry, a feeling shared by all mums, I am sure. Well, addressing the cause can help our child:

  • Allergies- These can cause irritable cough, a bad throat and so on. These allergens can include food items, pollen in the air and dust. Speak with your child’s paediatrician and take the necessary medication.
  • Infections like flu and cold result in our kids coughing continuously. If your baby is asthmatic, it might cause cough.
  • Acid reflux is also a common cause of cough. You can speak with your paediatrician about this. You can also remove food that causes acidity in your child, like chocolate (identify it). Give your baby dinner at least a couple of hours before his bedtime, to aid digestion.

Self medication is again not advisable for your baby. In case, the severity of cough increases or if your child has difficulty breathing, rush to your doctor.

  1. Flu

Flu is also referred to as Influenza. It is an infection that targets our child’s respiratory system. It tends to be more severe than cold as it can develop into pneumonia. Our child feels awful the first couple of days after the onset of the illness.

  • Three types of viruses cause Influenza- Types A and B cause the annual flu and type C causes the random outbreak.
  • Since flu is contagious, it is spread through respiratory secretions.
  • Our kids tend to get it most obviously from school or their play group. They decide to share a milkshake, or hug or maybe exchange a ‘yo’ with the boy who has the flu (and who just rubbed his nose with his hands).  
  • Children can spread the virus a day before their actual symptoms surface and continue to do so for almost a week after they fall ill.
  • The best way to avoid the flu is to get the vaccination done for your child. I do it every year for my son.

Mums, make your child rest and give him lots of fluid. Stay healthy!


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