ASK THE CPCMG PEDIATRICIAN: Why is my child getting sick so often?

It seems like my child is always sick. They will feel better for about a week, then get sick again. Why is my child getting sick so often?

If your child is otherwise growing and developing normally, the most likely reason for their repeat sickness is exposure to new viruses. These viruses are everywhere, and they are challenging to avoid. Even diligent cleaning and sanitizing of the home, classroom or daycare cannot prevent your child from being exposed and getting sick an average of six to 12 times a year.

Remember that your child is always around other kids, whether it’s at school, on the playground or in another shared space like daycare. Kids are learning and playing together which means they are coughing and sneezing on each other. All it takes is for your child to touch something that someone else has coughed or sneezed on, touch their hands to their face, and there you have it – another virus-based cold.

Preventing these repeat colds means encouraging healthy habits:
• Show your child how to wash their hands after using the bathroom or sneezing by following five simple steps:
1. Wet hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
2. Rub hands together with the soap. Lather the backs of the hands, between the fingers, and under the nails.
3. Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds (try singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice).
4. Rinse hands well under clean, running water.
5. Dry hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
• Teach your child to cough and sneeze into their elbow. Washing their (or using hand sanitizer) after a sneeze or cough can’t hurt.
• Keep your child at home if they are not feeling well or having a fever. In this case, sharing is not caring.

Remember that antibiotics will not help your child feel better because a common virus caused your child’s cold. Antibiotics are used for bacterial infections like strep throat, an ear infection, or pneumonia.

If you are worried about repeated illness or have other questions, please reach out to your CPCMG pediatrician using your MyChart account.