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My three-year-old child gets colds and cough often ever since he started going to nursery. I am not sure what to do.

Upper respiratory infections are one of the most common illnesses that can affect young children especially toddlers. On average, young children get coughs and colds between 6 and 8 times a year. These are mostly mild, viral in nature and last for about a week though the symptoms can make the child very irritable.The usual symptoms are a runny nose, cough, sore throat, irritability and fever. A child’s cough/cold symptoms could appear severe because the air passages of a toddler are narrower as compared to an older child and so get filled up with mucus quickly when they fall sick. This can worsen their symptoms.

It is very normal for a toddler to catch infections when he starts gong to a nursery or a day care centre as he is now suddenly introduced from a closed and protected environment to an area where he is exposed to more viruses/ infections. The immunity that the child got from his mother may start to wane and so he becomes prone to catching infections.

However, exposure to these infections builds his immunity and as he grows, his immune system is ready to tackle these infections.

Sometimes allergies in the new environment may be a factor in recurrent colds and coughs.

The aim of the treatment is to reduce the child’s discomfort and symptoms. Ensure he has a balanced diet and has plenty of fluids. Start cultivating a good sleep pattern. Seek medical advice if the symptoms last more than a week or if the child develops high fever.