Dr Ovo Ogbinaka, a medical practitioner with a private hospital in Warri, Delta, has advised parents and guardians to always kit their children in thick clothes to avoid cold due to the rainy season.
Ogbinaka gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Tuesday.
He defined cold as “common viral infection of the nose and throat.
“Contrary to flu, the common cold can be caused by many different types of viruses. The condition is generally harmless and symptoms usually resolve within two weeks.”
He also advised parents to prevent their children from walking bare-footed and should always wear socks.
The medical practitioner said the cold could spread easily by airborne respiratory droplets (coughs or sneezes), skin-to-skin contact (handshakes or hugs), and by saliva (kissing or shared drinks).
He said that more than 200 different viruses could cause this infection, but rhinovirus is the most common culprit.
He added that symptoms of cold included a general feeling of not being well, often followed by sore throat, runny nose or cough.
He explained that “at the beginning, the sore throat is due to a buildup of mucus. Later, your child may get a postnasal drip, when the mucus runs down the back of the nose to the throat.
“Cold virus can affect a child’s sinuses, throat, bronchial tubes and ears. He or she may also have diarrhoea and vomiting.
“At first, the child may be irritable and complain of headache and feeling stuffed up. After a while, the mucus coming out of his nose may turn darker and thicker.”
According to him, babies and toddlers often have eight to 10 colds a year before they turn two years old, while kids who are pre-school age have around nine colds a year, while kindergartners can have 12 a year.
He said adolescent and adults get about two to four colds a year.
“If your child has a cold, make sure you protect others from catching it.
“If he or she has symptoms, should stay at home to avoid contact with other children.
“Encourage children to cover mouth when sneezing and to use tissue paper to blow nose.”
Ogbinaka also advised parents to teach children to wash their hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing their nose.