There is no doubt that kids are cold magnets. On an average kids under the age of 3 catch six to eight colds a year. It is suspected that as children are exposed to viruses their immune systems aren’t able to fight them off quickly as when they encounter them again. This is actually good news as researchers have found that children who develop frequent colds in preschool; catch fewer colds during their school years. And a German study found that babies who have more than one cold before their first birthday are less likely to develop asthma by the age of seven. Still a sick child, especially a sick baby, is difficult to handle and if you have a cold your probably aren’t ready to willingly spread it to your child. In that, here are some tips to keep your cold away from your baby.
Understanding the Spread
Colds usually last 6 to 14 days-much longer than people think they are “supposed to”. The common cold virus is the most contagious during the first three days of symptoms but you can still catch a cold from someone who has had a cold for two weeks. If you have a cold and contaminate your hands then touch your child or even clothing or toys, the virus can live on that surface for up to half an hour. If your child picks up that object within that time frame then rubs their eyes or rubs their nose, chances are they will pick up your cold.
Keeping your child from getting sick is easier than you might think. First and foremost-wash your hands! The easiest way to get the cold virus on your hands is by touching your nose or eyes. Wash your hands with soap and water or use and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. In fact, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that kids who use hand sanitizer have half as many absences as kids who don’t use it. So keep those pocket sizes handy for both you and your child plus be sure to use them. The next step is to cover your mouth when you sneeze. Not only is this common etiquette, it helps to block at least some of the millions of germs that are released into the air with every sneeze.
If someone in your house is sick go disposable. Use plastic or paper products at every opportunity possible so you can simply throw them away. This is especially helpful in making sure no one eats or drinks after you. Finally, skip kisses when you are sick or even suspect you are getting sick. The cold virus is spread through touching the eyes or nose, something a little one is quite likely to do when you are face to face. Though it is notoriously difficult to keep your child’s hands out of their mouth, nose, and eyes, the effort is well worth it to prevent a sick (and uncomfortable) baby.