Could The Common Cold Actually Be Good For Your Kids?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Well, the kids are finally back in school and cold season is just about to get underway.

You know what that means! Pretty soon, your little ones will be bringing all sorts of germs home with them.

While parents hate to see their kids sick, is it possible those colds could actually be a good thing?

As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported, the immune system is like a muscle. You have to use it and challenge it in order for it to get stronger.

It also has to learn to recognize the bad guys, that’s why it needs to be exposed to viruses that cause colds.

If it hasn’t happened yet, it will soon. Those walking petri dishes known as toddlers and school kids will soon catch a cold, like Arin Moya-Jones.

“It’s really annoying,” the 11-year-old said. “Get a runny nose, especially in class with a runny nose, every second you have to blow your nose.”

Her older sister Lourdes knows it’s almost inevitable that the rest of the family will follow.

“Six people in the family, one by one, everyone’s gonna get sick and stay home from school,” the 12-year-old said. “It’s like dominos.”

While colds can be unpleasant and inconvenient, pediatrician Dr. Laura Popper says you should look at it as kids go to school to learn reading, writing, arithmetic, and germs.

“It’s not terrible, it’s a good thing,” Dr. Popper said. “Our bodies, the more we have these common viruses, the better our immune systems. If you have a kid in a bubble, they do very, very badly because they have not had this experience with being sick.”

Upper respiratory colds can typically last three to five days. Antibiotics don’t work against viruses, so the best treatment is rest, plenty of fluids, and maybe some honey and steam to ease the throat.

It all kind of goes against a parent’s instincts.

“When we were new parents, any sniffle and concern we went straight to the doctor,” Markos Moya said. “Now, we’re pragmatic.”

Dr. Popper says there are some signs to watch for that things are a little more serious.

“If a child has a high fever, they’re not eating, lethargic, breathing rapidly, these are reasons to talk with a doctor,” she said.

Dr. Popper also says to stay away from over the counter cold remedies, since children can have bad reactions to them.

If your child has asthma or is immunocompromised, those children should be watched closely.

But of course, when in doubt — call.

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