Posted in Down syndrome, Health Issues and Special Needs Child

Blog #36~ What is Red and Green and Runs All Over?

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Blog #36~ What is Red and Green and Runs All Over?

Answer: That would be Nick and his ruddy cheeks and nose crusted with green, gloppy boogers from a cold.

The nasty funk that boy can emit from his nostrils is like a faucet that can’t be shut off.  Under the mucus are his parched, red cheeks that blare even more with the cold air beating over his dry skin. Welcome to the cold season and Nick’s world. 🙂

Certain traits attributed to having Down syndrome factor into the likely occurrence of more respiratory infections. “Medical & Surgical Care for Children with Down Syndrome,” available through Woodbine House is an excellent guide for parents who have a child with Down syndrome. Here is what this guide says about drainage and colds:

Physical growth may also be different in the details. The head and facial features (eyes, nose, jaw, ears, etc.) of children with Down syndrome are smaller and may grow more slowly than in other children. As a result, facial structures such as tear ducts, sinus passages, and Eustachian tubes (connecting the middle ear to the back of the throat) may be smaller in size and become blocked more easily. This contributes to an increased likelihood of tear duct, sinus, and ear infections in some children.”

“In addition, because of the relatively small size of the nasal cavities, sinusitis is common. So, too is drainage from the nose because sanal drainage s often due to infection or inflammation of the sinuses. Eight out of ten children with Down syndrome have persistent nasal drainage.”

Children with Down syndrome are prone to having dry skin and hair. Here are a few things that I’ve found essential to include during the winter months:

1. Aquaphor: a great healing ointment that is non-irritating and soothing.

2. Oils of Aloha- Hawaii’s Kukui Conditioning Shampoo: A less harsh dandruff shampoo that doesn’t sting the eyes. Here are my two favorite body washes:

At Bath and Body Works, really relaxing and clears the head…

stress relief body wash

Skin soothing body wash for sensitive skin…

Aveeno body wash

3. Exergen Temporal Scanner: Swipes across the forehead, easier for those with sensory issues.

4. Hand Sanitizer:  This along with constant hand washing and not touching your face in between.  Did you know cold germs can live on surfaces for 7 days.  So, If you have to touch your face use the inside of your shirt and not your hands.

5. Cover Up:  A sneeze can travel 32 feet in the air. I always do a duck and cover with my arm or turn quickly away when Nick fires one at me.

sneeze cover up

Each winter season, I find myself dressing Nick in the hues of grey and green or camo colored shirts when he has a cold.  These colors blend in better when he decides to blow his nose and wipe it on his shirt. It has never been easy giving Nick medicine. He is unable to take anything in pill form so it has to be liquid or dissolvable in form. Countless times I’ve tried to get him to down a tiny cup of Dimetapp.  The end result was him spewing that sticky, purple stuff all over the both of us. Now that he is older, it has become much better. I hand him the cup of Dimetapp and he slams it down as if it was a shot of Patrón. 


Cheers to that! 🙂

Having a child who has Down syndrome and autism can be extra challenging when they are not feeling well. Because his speech is so limited he is unable to tell me how he feels. I have to go by his energy level and the look in his eyes.

Poor guy…….


The sure fire way of knowing he isn’t feeling well is his appetite. Hmmm, is it *Feed a cold; starve a fever or the other way around?

Answer:  At the end of this post.

The cold season can be rough, especially with a child with special needs.  I hope these tips might helpful for your family.  For more information about health and Down syndrome click on @

That’s what is in my noggin this week. Here’s to a mild cold season for all of us and to a healthy New Year in 2013!


*According to Ask Yahoo, The original maxim is “feed a cold, starve a fever.” In other words, eat plentifully to fight a cold, and resist food if you have a fever. To avoid confusion, we recommend steering clear of both versions of this myth. The Straight Dope dates the practice of fasting to combat fever to a 1574 dictionary. As do many other medical practices from the Middle Ages, starving yourself when you’re sick seems to us to be a pretty questionable tactic. However, opinions on the issue differ. A 2002 article from New Scientist cites a Dutch research team that ran an ad hoc experiment and came to the conclusion that “eating a meal boosts the type of immune response that destroys the viruses responsible for colds, while fasting stimulates the response that tackles the bacterial infections responsible for most fevers.” But the evidence is far from conclusive. Colds and flus are caused by viruses, and your body needs energy to fight them. Stay at home, eat light, healthy food when you’re hungry, and drink lots of fluids. You can find lots of other ways to fight the flu naturally at


Teresa is the Author of "A New Course: A Mother's Journey Navigating Down Syndrome and Autism" and the mother of two boys. Her youngest son, Nick is 29 years old and has a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism (DS-ASD). Teresa's passion is helping others understand and navigate co-occurring Down syndrome and autism. She is a DS-ASD consultant, advocate, speaker, and author. Follow Nick's world on Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest @Down Syndrome With A Slice of Autism and on Twitter @tjunnerstall. For more information and media links, visit

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