A child remains infectious from 24 hours before symptoms appear until five days after symptoms begin, and is most infectious for the first three days. Young children are infectious for a longer period of time (up to three weeks), since it takes longer for their immature immune systems to fight off the virus.

While it may not seem practical, a child with a cold should stay home, especially to limit spreading of the virus. The most important factor in reducing the transmission of colds is effective hand washing. It's also important to avoid touching the nose and eyes. By scratching the nose or rubbing the eyes with a contaminated hand, the virus can easily be inhaled higher up into the nose. According to research, most children touch their nose or eyes about once every three hours.

since most children find it hard not to touch their faces occasionally, washing hands often may help prevent colds. It is especially important for children who are already sick to wash hands, since they are even more likely to be wiping, blowing, scratching, or touching their faces. Washing the hands vigorously with soap and water for 20 seconds will remove the viruses.

Hands should be washed after sneezing or coughing; before eating; after wiping, blowing, or touching the nose; after using the toilet; and before touching another person.

Disposable tissues should be used instead of cloth handkerchiefs when coughing, sneezing, or blowing the nose and should be discarded immediately. A used tissue is filled with virus just waiting to be passed on to someone else.

In addition to not touching the face and washing hands, parents should disinfect areas likely to be contaminated with germs, such as door handles, telephones, light switches, and so on. The sick child should use a separate set of towels and washcloths, and parents should change their bedding more often. While it is not likely that rhinoviruses can cause illness by attaching themselves to a toothbrush, enteroviruses, which are found in the stomach and intestines, can occasionally cause a cold this way. Therefore, experts suggest replacing a toothbrush every three months. By being very careful, it is possible to stop the spread of colds even in a household where several children are sick.

cold sore A small skin blister also known as a "fever blister" that appears on the mouth during a cold. This is extremely common and is usually first

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