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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 3 (July 1, 1933)

Safeguard The Children's Health. — The Danger of Colds

Safeguard The Children's Health.
The Danger of Colds.

Children must be safeguarded against colds, especially during the winter and early spring. The common cold is anything but a trifling ailment and must not be neglected. An immense amount of ill-health in later life can be traced directly to neglected colds in childhood. The delicate lining membrane of the nose becomes inflamed and infected by germs, and once this condition occurs, other colds and complications are likely to follow. Ear troubles frequently result owing to the spread of infection from the nose passages to the middle ear. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids are also encouraged.

If a child has a heavy cold and the weather is changeable, he is better in bed in a warm airy room and out of draughts, and if in reasonably good health he should soon recover. The nose must be kept clear as possible. Handkerchiefs should not be used, but pieces of soft rag which can be burnt, as the discharges are highly infectious. A child with a cold should not be encouraged to blow his nose too hard, as by so doing, discharge may be forced into cavities at the side of the nose. An aperient must be given—castor oil or some other usual medicine. Give light nourishing diet and plenty of drinks—water, barley-water, fruit drinks, milk, etc.

If there is a tickling or irritating cough, black-currant tea (made with jam or jelly and boiling water) is a homely and old-fashioned remedy, also glycerine, lemon juice and honey are very effective. For a slightly sore throat, gargling with a mild antiseptic, such as salt and water, has a soothing effect for the child who is old enough to gargle and can be trusted not to swallow the gargle.

A chest cold or cough, if there is a temperature, really calls for medical advice, as there is a risk of bronchitis. An inhalation of Friar's Balsam (one teaspoonful to a pint of boiling water) gives relief. To give the inhalation, place a paper bag with a small hole cut in a corner, over the receptacle that holds the inhalant. The steam then goes directly up the nose and into the lungs, thus preventing the pores of the skin being opened to admit a chill.

For a severe sore throat, it is advisable to isolate the child, as it is often an early sign of one of the infectious diseases. If there are whitish spots or patches on the throat, the doctor should be sent for immediately.