Monday, September 13, 2010

image The time of year for sniffles and sneezes is quickly approaching.  It seems like every single year when my kids go back to school the viruses and colds start almost immediately.  What’s worse is that once my older girls go to school and carry the virus and cold germs home the little ones get it and before I know it what was one runny nose and fever has turned into 4 runny noses with fevers and that is not good!  Needless to say, in the winter Children’s Advil and acetaminophen are a common fixture in our home.
I’ve been a hard core user of Children’s Advil for a while now; my children get constant ear infections in the winter and Children’s Advil has been a godsend on so many occasions.  Between easing aches and pains and controlling fever, Children’s Advil seems to get the job done and get it done fast and that is why I chose it 9 times out of 10 for fever and pain.  image
I know that as a parent I often have questions concerning colds and flu; I recently had the chance to interview Dr. Greg Alexander (see bio below) and get the answers to some of those questions.  You can check out a portion of my interview with Dr. Alexander below. 
Dr. Gregg Alexander is a practicing pediatrician at Madison Pediatrics in London, Ohio. He is very involved in local healthcare and community affairs, active at both a state and national level in the advancement of healthcare information technology, and most recently, he became the CMO for Health Nuts Media which uses animations, games, and apps to help children understand health issues on their level. Happily married, he’s the proud father of two sons.
Q1.  What would you say is the number one cause of the common cold?
Dr. Alexander:  Other children! (OK, technically, the #1 cause of the common cold is the rhinovirus, but you know who often delivers that virus to your child: another child!) Children usually get colds from other children; young children are particularly susceptible to colds because their immune systems are “naïve” meaning they haven’t yet developed much immunity to common infections because they haven’t had much exposure. Less exposure means less practice and less capacity to fight off new threats. In fact, studies have shown that otherwise healthy children can catch up to 12 common viruses per year especially in the fall and winter when they are back in school.
Q2.  What is the best way to treat a cold?  flu?  stomach virus?
Dr. Alexander:  There is no cure for the cold or flu virus, but there are some simple things that parents can do to help treat their child’s cold or flu. It seems basic, but lots of rest, fluids, and good nutrition go a long way in helping to support the immune system as it fights infection.
To ease congestion, I recommend adding a cool midst humidifier to your child's room or spend a few minutes in a steamy bathroom to get stuck mucus moving. At bedtime, try elevating his or her head by adding an extra pillow (or placing the mattress at a slight incline for babies and younger children) to encourage nasal drainage and a more restful night's sleep. (Note: infants should never use pillows.)
For breastfeeding or bottle-feeding infants, you can prevent congestion from interfering with feeding by holding your child as upright as possible at feeding time—and if you are nursing, keep breastfeeding! Breast milk naturally contains antibodies to help your baby fight infection.
For toddlers and preschoolers, a warm bowl of chicken soup can be soothing and studies show that there is in fact a medicinal value in the remedy.

Q.3 I am often confused about Tylenol and Advil and which treats what symptoms better.  Which medicine works best for:  fever?, aches and pains?  pain associated with immunizations?, teething?
Dr. Alexander:  In general, both medications are used for pain and fever reduction. Children’s Advil®, which contains the active ingredient ibuprofen, is indicated for reducing fever and helping with the minor aches and pains due to colds, the flu, sore throat, headache, or toothache. It is also a little bit more effective as far as I’m concerned because it has a faster onset of action and it also lasts longer. Ibuprofen lasts 6 to 8 hours and acetaminophen (i.e., Children’s Tylenol®) lasts approximately 4 hours.
If you have other issues beyond those, or if fever lasts longer than a couple of days, you should consult with your pediatrician.
Q4.  My older children often catch colds and different types of viruses from other children at school; they almost always bring the viruses home and infect my younger children.  What is your best advice for keeping my older children from spreading the viruses to the younger children?
Dr. Alexander:  Probably the most important thing you can do to help prevent your children from catching and spreading germs is to teach them to wash their hands, well and often. Hand sanitizers help, too, if soap and water aren’t available. Drinking plenty of fluids (avoiding caffeine) to maintain good hydration, getting sufficient sleep, eating a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and maintaining regular physical activity/exercise all work to bolster the immune system and its ability to defend against infections.
Q5.  One of the things that worry me most in my children is fevers.  At what temperature do you administer medicine? 
Dr. Alexander:  There is no set rule or number when it comes to treating your child’s fever with medication; however, if your child is uncomfortable or downright miserable, you may want to give them medicine such as Children’s Advil® to help reduce their fever and give them some relief. Children’s Advil® has been proven to reduce fever faster and lasts longer, up to 8 hours.
Q6.  What are the early symptoms of the common cold?  the flu?  stomach virus?
Dr. Alexander:  The symptoms for the common cold and the flu are often very similar which can make it difficult to tell them apart. Usually, they may include congestion, a stuffy or runny nose, headache, and a sore throat. However, with the flu, symptoms may be a bit more severe and may also include a fever, more of the whole body aches and pains, and perhaps an upset stomach. With the flu, you will generally look and feel sicker and symptoms usually come on faster and last longer than with just a cold.
Q7.  What is your #1 tip for fighting the cold and flu?
Dr. Alexander:  Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids! This will help the immune system fight off the virus and get them well sooner. For more information, I would recommend parents visit where they can find some simple tips on how to help prevent and treat children’s colds and flu during the back-to-school and fall season. I was impressed at the simple, helpful collection of tips there that can really help parents know what to do to help their kids “battle the bugs.”
I have to admit that getting the answers to those questions made me feel like I am ready to tackle this winter head on as an informed, armed (with Children’s Advil), bug battling machine! 
And a little bonus for you…check out the Children’s Advil website for more information about fighting the common cold and other wintertime ailments and while you’re there make sure you pick up your $1.00 OFF coupon for Children’s Advil!


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