There are over 200 strains of the common cold and flu viruses. Over an average lifetime, there will be times when exposure to these numerous viruses is heightened, for example when you’re travelling, work in a busy place, or if you care for young children who tend to be good at picking up and sharing their germs. If you’re exposed to new strains of viruses, the likelihood is that you may come down with a cold.1
It's not uncommon for children and toddlers to develop colds every few weeks but as their immunity develops with age, the frequency of developing viruses will reduce to around two to three colds per year.2
The symptoms are the same in both adults and children. Sometimes symptoms last longer in children.
It's not uncommon to go through a period of months having lots of new infections after getting physically and mentally overtired, which can result in heavy colds or flu-like illnesses. This, in turn, causes the immune system to run on empty.
• Cold and flu are viruses and generally do not respond to antibiotic therapies.
• Symptoms do not improve after 3 weeks
• Symptoms suddenly worsen
• You have a very high temperature, and you feel hot and shivery
• You feel short of breath or develop chest pain
• You have an underlying medical condition- Asthma, COPD, Kidney Disease, Diabetes, pregnancy etc.
• You have a weakened immune system.
• You are concerned about your child because they are displaying symptoms such as high fever, very lethargic and drowsy/ unresponsive, very pale, have a rapid and irregular respiratory rate and are showing signs of dehydration (NICE traffic light guidelines)
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1 - Common Cold - NHS
2 - Feverish Children - NICE
This information has been put together by our medical team, who are there to help you with any issues or initial concerns about your or your family’s physical or mental health. To the best of our knowledge the health information is current at the time of writing.
However, it’s important to remember that it shouldn’t replace any qualified medical advice you may have received from your doctor, be used to self-diagnose or recommend a course of treatment. For treatment and medication, please talk to your doctor who’ll be able to give you advice tailored to your own treatment needs.
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