Everyone hates to get a cold. Who wants to have his nose run or to cough or to feel stuffed up, anyway? And then, too, most colds are accompanied by a sore throat, a fever, and eyes that are red and teary. Sometimes, when a child has a cold, he develops aches and pains in his muscles in various places in the body. And, of course, we know that a bad cold means not going to school, no playing outdoors, no movies, no going to parties. Most times, a bad cold means lying around the house or being in bed for a few days. That’s not much fun. And, finally, what fun is it to take medicines even if they do get you to feel better?
It is strange animals seem to know better how to take care of themselves than we do. And even if our animal friends did catch cold, we wouldn’t catch it from them because their germs and viruses don’t often infect human beings. And our germs and viruses that cause colds don’t seem to affect them, either. But you just sneeze without covering your nose, or cough without covering your mouth, and you can give a cold to anyone who is in the same room with you.
Every once in a while, no matter how careful we are, we do get a cold. But if we follow certain good rules, we won’t get colds very often. Here’s what all of us, grown-ups as well as children,should do:
1. Don’t kiss or hug anyone, big or small, who has a cold. Colds are so contagious that one hug or kiss may cause you to catch it.
2. Stay as far away as you can from someone who is sneezing or coughing because he has a cold. Actually, people who have colds should stay in their own rooms as much as possible.
3. If you can help it, never walk around with wet or damp feet. Put on your rubbers or boots before going out in the rain or snow. And if you accidentally get caught in the rain or snow without your rubbers or boots, head for home where you can dry out. Remember, you can miss a lot of fun and good times by catching a cold unnecessarily.
4. Another thing that seems to bring on a cold is getting chilled, especially after being overheated from playing. Don’t forget that clothing gets damp and wet from perspiration. And many children, instead of going home to change into dry clothing, hang around in wet clothes and get chilled. Cooling off too quickly after being overheated, especially in cold weather, may lead to a cold.
5. Getting part of the body in a cold draft seems to bring on colds in some people. It is odd, but exposing the entire body to wind and cold, as we often do on wintry days when we go outdoors, does not seem to cause a cold nearly as often as when only part of our body is exposed to cold or wind.
6. Of course, a child who doesn’t dress warmly enough when he goes out in chilly or cold weather takes a great chance of getting a cold. Mothers and fathers are pretty smart when it comes to knowing what their children should wear, and it is a good idea to take their advice when they tell you how to dress. All too often, when youngsters refuse to put on a sweater or coat in cold weather, they punish themselves by getting colds.
7. Many doctors believe that people catch more colds when they neglect to eat the right foods. For example, we should always eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. This will supply us with most of the vitamins we need. Those who have a vitamin deficiency seem to catch colds very frequently.
A good way to avoid catching cold is to never walk around with wet or damp feet and clothing. Always wear proper clothes when you have to go out in the rain or snow. And if you do get caught out in the rain without protection, head for home, where you can dry out.
If we are unlucky enough to catch a cold, we certainly don’t want to give it to other members of our family, or to our playmates. Here are some good ways not to spread colds:
1. Always cover your mouth with your hand when coughing. This will help to stop the spread of the cold viruses.
2. When sneezing, always sneeze into a tissue or handkerchief. A tissue is better than a handkerchief because it can be thrown away.
3. If a sneeze comes on very suddenly and there is no time to get a tissue or handkerchief, sneeze into your hands and cover your nose.
4. Don’t kiss or hug anyone until your cold is all better.
5. Don’t play in the same room with anyone while you are still sneezing or coughing from a cold. Your mom or dad will know when you have recovered sufficiently to play with others.
6. Go to parties or play groups or to school only after your cold is better. This may take as long as four or five days if it is a bad cold.