Don’t Take Common Colds and Flu for Granted: It May Lead to Complications

Don’t Take Common Colds and Flu for Granted: It May Lead to Complications

Colds and flu can be common among children. In fact, it has been found that children suffer from these illnesses 8 to 12 times a year. The most common virus that causes common colds is the rhinovirus. The virus travels as invisible droplets in the air that we breathe or we get it from things that we touch. There are more than 100 different types of this virus, which can invade the protective lining of the nose.

What are the common symptoms of common colds?

Clear signs you may be getting a cold include feeling a tickle in your throat, a runny or stuffy nose, and frequent sneezing. Children, on the other hand, may experience a sore throat, cough, headache, mild fever, fatigue, muscle aches and loss of appetite. Nasal discharge may also progress from being clear and watery, to thick and yellow or green in colour.

How long do cold symptoms appear after exposure to the virus?

Symptoms will usually appear 2 to 3 days after exposure to the source. And it usually takes 1 week for the cold to clear but there are times that can last for 2 weeks.

If symptoms are not treated immediately, what complications can you get?

More often than not, common colds do not need to be checked by a doctor. But there are times when the colds don’t get better after the usual gestation period. It may be that the common viral infection may have led to a bacterial infection such as sinusitis, asthma attacks, bronchitis and ear infections. And in this case, it is best that you visit a doctor.



Asthma attacks may not affect everyone when they develop a cold, except children who have a pre-existing asthmatic condition. Children with asthma can feel congested and may cough in an attempt to expel phlegm from the throat or lungs. This may be accompanied by the feeling of breathlessness and chest tightness. In the instance of an asthma attack, make sure follow your asthma action plan.


Acute bronchitis is also known as a chest cold. A viral or bacterial infection may cause inflammation and irritation of the airways. A symptom of bronchitis is usually a cough with the production of mucus. This mucus is usually thick and yellow and at times you will be able to see streaks of blood in it.


Sore throats and tonsillitis are common secondary infections of colds. When your child has a sore throat, it can become hard for them to swallow so eating can be quite a chore.  Tonsillitis is another infection associated with a sore throat. You can experience pain in the throat, especially when swallowing. It is either caused by viral or bacterial infection.


Ear infections are another complication of common colds. The cold virus is the cause of ear infections, about 80% of the time. But you can get cases of bacterial ear infections as well. Symptoms to watch out for are ear pain, difficulty sleeping, clear or yellow mucus in the nose, a low-grade temperature of lower than 38 degrees Celsius or at times, ear drainage.

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Taking precautions

It pays to be careful when we deal with our children’s illnesses, including the common cold. It is beneficial to attend to them right away rather than wait for it to develop into a secondary infection. You can learn more about cough and cold products for your children on our website.


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