Kids & Colds: Why is My Child Sick All the Time? - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

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Published on April 04, 2016

Why is My Child Sick All the Time?

"Spring is upon us, and the parents I talk with this time of year are frustrated because their kids seem to have been sick since the holidays," says Kristen Cook, MD, pediatrician.

From infancy through preschool years, the average child gets seven or eight colds each year. When they hit the school-age years, you can expect five or six colds annually. From your teens through adulthood, you can count on about four colds per year. And that doesn't include stomach illnesses. In general, colds strike around October and last through April. The average cold lasts one to three weeks.

"Younger children who have not had previous exposure to viruses are susceptible to catching any of the 200 different cold viruses they may come into contact with," says Dr. Cook.

Why? Kids touch everything and the majority of the germs spread from hand to mouth.

"On the bright side, each illness gives your child immunity against that specific virus. So in theory, colds should decrease with age."

Tips to Help Prevent Colds

While we can't prevent colds altogether, healthy habits can give you the upper hand.

  • Start your children off eating healthy by breastfeeding your baby as long as you can. Breastmilk helps build up baby's immune system.
  • A daily diet should be colorful, well-balanced and packed with vitamins.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Regularly clean out your nasal passages with a saline solution.
  • Probiotic supplements can balance the digestive tract.
  • Get more Vitamin D.
  • Immunize and vaccinate.
  • Wash, disinfect and wash again.
  • Avoid smoke and tobacco.
  • Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.

Regular wellness visits can ensure your children are up-to-date on their immunizations and vaccinations, as well as to determine that they have no other underlying conditions that may be causing increased illnesses.

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Kids & Colds: Why is My Child Sick All the Time?