As a general rule, when one pictures a happy, healthy toddler, they are always loud, busy, giggling, gorgeous, playing, filthy dirty, into everything and usually all with a perpetually runny nose. As your toddler starts to interact with his environment outside the boundaries of his or her cot, their immune system is starting to interact with that environment as well. Toddlers are crawling, climbing and exploring everything all the time, and especially if they are outside, they are normally wearing some of their environment as well.
It is a normal and important part of a child’s development to get dirty, to experience things like sand, water, paint, grass and their personal favorite – mud. The messier the better, and as part of their absolutely thorough investigation of the world around them, they are going to taste everything. Including all that stuff you don’t want them too, but in doing so, their immune system is building up resistance to the germs that we all encounter on a day to day basis.
Everything around us is covered in some sort of germs, but our body’s ability to fight them and not lead to infection, allows us to live with pets, go camping, swim in swimming pools and interact with other people, hugging and kissing them, without falling ill.
Once a child starts to interact with other children, especially at play school, parents start becoming extremely concerned that their kids are always sick. Because toddlers are curious and exploring their world, together they are all over the place, and kids will pick up the odd runny nose from each other, and it is important that they do so. The common cold – the runny nose, the fever, the little cough, is very common among toddlers – and normally a child will be fine one minute, and then an hour later be very poorly, feverish and coughing. It could last for a few days and should clear up with rest, fluids and something to keep the fever at bay.
When kids stop eating, are listless all the time and don’t want to take any fluids, it is time to get them to a doctor. You as a parent will know immediately when your child is acting out of sorts. As they get older, their immune systems will have built up a barrier to the viruses and bacteria in the world around them, and they will hardly get sick at all. It is vitally important however, that you get your healthcare professional, preferably your pediatrician, to prescribe any medications for your child, at any age, before you give them to your child.
Another common virus toddlers pick up is vomiting or diarrhea, or both, especially since they put everything in their mouth, dirty fingers, toys, car keys, sand and stuff like that, their little tummies are not going to be able to hold the fort yet on its own. Usually it should not last longer than 12 hours, and it will be very important to ensure that your child drinks lots of fluids to keep them from becoming dehydrated. If they do not show signs of improving you may need to get them to a doctor.
Childhood illnesses, such as colds, runny noses, chicken pox, measles and the like, are all important healthy milestones your toddler or child needs to experience in order to allow the immune system to build up barriers and keep your child healthy. Always consult your healthcare professional before administering any medications and dish out bucket loads of TLC.