A Parent-Friendly Guide to Manage the Common Cold and Flu Season

2 minute read | Posted by Dr. Rosana Mejía-León on Oct 19, 2023 9:18:35 AM


In Puerto Rico, kids experience respiratory infections across the year. However, after school starts and cooler seasons approach, these infections can become prominent. This is why we developed a tailored guide for busy parents to identify and handle “sick kid season.”



Year-round Respiratory Concerns in Puerto Rico

Although respiratory infections are prevalent throughout the year, a significant surge is often observed post-summer, peaking during the festive season. For parents juggling myriad responsibilities, discerning between symptoms of colds, influenza, COVID-19, RSV, and other respiratory conditions is crucial.

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The Common Cold

At some point during the year, it seems that every child you know has it. The common cold is predominantly caused by a variety of viruses, with Rhinoviruses and Coronaviruses being primary culprits. Early symptoms often include nasal congestion, possibly a mild fever, and cough. Nasal discharges can vary, appearing white to greenish. It's essential to recognize the gradual onset, differentiating it from the flu's abrupt entry.

Transmission and Duration

Direct human contact or interactions with contaminated surfaces can lead to cold transmission. Peak contagiousness is observed during the first two to four days. Post-exposure, symptoms usually appear within one or two days. While infants might experience them for 10 to 14 days, older children often recover in about a week. If symptoms linger, it might indicate complications or another cold onset. A cough can last for three to four weeks, and its extended presence might suggest back-to-back colds or complications like sinusitis.

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Complications and Considerations

Persistent nasal congestion might also hint at allergies or even the presence of foreign objects. Allergies often present with clear secretions and are associated with itching. Moreover, ear infections can arise as a common cold aftermath.

Alleviating Symptoms

Direct cures for the cold remain elusive. However, strengthening our immune system is pivotal. Key measures include:

  • Keeping children hydrated.
  • Offering warm liquids.
  • Using saline nasal drops for congestion.
  • Humidified air to ease mucus flow.
  • Giving honey to children over two as a natural cough remedy.

It's worth noting the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications for children under 12. In particular, Intranasal Fluticasone is tailored for treating conditions like rhinitis and sinusitis, but it isn't effective against the common cold. Similarly, asthma medications like Albuterol won't address the cough from a cold, which is more about irritation than asthma-related spasms. 

Caution is paramount: some OTC medications have been linked to accidental overdoses in younger children due to their unique metabolic responses. Dextromethorphan might be an exception; under a doctor's guidance, it could be beneficial if a persistent cough disrupts your child's sleep. Remember, adequate sleep and rest are crucial for your child's healing process.

Additional Treatments

While some treatments might offer limited relief, Vitamin C, paired with Vitamin D and Zinc, can boost the immune system, aiding our defense against infections.



Proactive measures, such as regular handwashing, sanitizing surfaces, and imparting hygiene habits to our children, can substantially mitigate transmission risks.

As the “sick kid season” evolves, this knowledge will become fundamental to treat any discomfort your child might present. If they present any symptoms, visit your pediatrician as soon as you can. If you’re worried about exposure, remember that our concierge pediatric clinic offers services around the clock and that our waiting room has space for healthy and sick kids. 

Stay informed. Stay safe. Stay healthy.


Pravan Kids, Puerto Rico's first membership-based pediatric clinic, offers parents unparalleled accessibility and personalized care. We've crafted a holistic care package from annual exams to on-demand mobile consultations. Click above to explore our services and experience a new standard in child healthcare.


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Topics: pravan kids, neonatal

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