Medical Q&As

Viral infection - prevention during infancy?

My 11 month old was at my GP recently with a high temp and chesty cough. The doctor said it was a viral infection. Is there anything I can do to prevent my daughter getting it again or anything I can do to prevent her getting the common cold this winter?

Children develop immunity against various infectious diseases by being exposed to those diseases and developing antibodies against them. This process is referred to as acquired immunity. When the child is exposed to the same infectious agent again in the future it usually does not develop the infection because it has the appropriate antibodies and is able to combat the infection. Most children develop several infections during the course of infancy and the pre-school years and this experience is desirable in order for the child’s immune system to be strengthened. Such infections can be distressing for child and parent alike but they are probably best regarded as a normal and necessary part of early childhood development. If such bouts of infection did not occur the child’s immune system would not be sufficiently prepared for the onslaught it would face when the child reached school-going age.