Before I left, the weather had been starting to drop; by the time I return, it will probably be cold or start getting cold. With the cold comes the risk of the common cold and the flu, but we’ll talk about the flu another day.

Symptoms are pretty obvious: stuffy/runny nose, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, and maybe a headache. While there is no cure for the common cold, these symptoms can be treated to help make the patient comfortable. Paracetamol/acetaminophen may be prescribed along with other medications by your doctor. However, aspirin should NEVER be given to children under 12 years old unless specifically instructed by the doctor. Nasal decongestants can help with the blocked nose for adults, not for children. A warm drink (preferably with lemon and honey) or gargling salt water and sucking a lozenge will help with the sore throat—just please make sure your kids understand that lozenges are NOT candy.

Most of the time, you won’t even need to see a doctor when you catch a cold, but there are a few signs that the cold is worse than expected and you should see a doctor as soon as you can.

-Fever above 35.5 C (38 C for kids up to 12 weeks)

-Returning fever or fever longer than 5 days

-Shortness of breath

-Wheezing

-Sever sore throat, headache, or sinus pain

For children, the above applies as well as:

-Worsening symptoms or symptoms failing to improve

-Ear pain

-Very fussy child

-Unusual drowsiness

-Lack of appetite

While catching the cold is not the end of the world, not having the cold is more preferable. To keep the cold a bay, wash your hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Just be careful not to over wash your hands. Disinfect your home, especially if people are coughing and sneezing. If you’re around someone with a cold, don’t share food or drinks with them; that’s just asking for it. Encourage your sick friend to use tissues to cover-up coughs and sneezes. Lastly, taking care of your health on a daily basis will help boost your immune system and naturally fight colds. So don’t neglect your health.

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