The common cold is characterized by a runny nose and congestion in the nasal area and is usually a result of an infection that affects the nose and the throat of the baby. Babies are more at risk of being affected by the common cold, as their immune system is not that strong and has to fight against way too many infections in their first year of life. When treating symptoms of common cold in babies, ample fluids are provided with moist air to breathe in. It is important to know the possible triggers of cold in babies and how to treat and prevent baby cold.
Causes of Baby Cold
A cold is basically an infection that targets the upper respiratory tract. There are a number of viruses that are known for causing common colds. Infants and toddlers get affected by cold very easily because their immune systems are in the process of development and are not that strong at fighting viruses.
Colds are contagious, which means that they can spread from one person to another if the person suffering from the cold sneezes or coughs in open air. You can also get cold if you come in contact with the person who has the cold. This is why it is essential to wash hands after sneezing and covering your mouth when coughing.
Symptoms of Baby Cold
The symptoms of common cold in babies include fever, runny nose, sore throat, redness in the eyes, cough and a loss of appetite. The baby must be having difficulty in breathing if his nose is stuffed with mucus. As he is not able to clear his nose, this task will have to be performed by you.
Your baby will be having trouble in sleeping during a cold. He would wake up many times during the night and you would have to wipe his nose for him to get some sleep. The symptoms of a common cold usually last for about a week or two before subsiding and completely going away.
Can It Be Flu, Allergies or Other Conditions?
It is hard to tell whether the common cold your baby is having is caused by a virus, an allergy or some other condition, but the symptoms can give you an idea about it. For instance, if the baby has a fever and a runny nose then it is a sure sign of a cold.
On the other hand, if the fever does not go away quickly or the baby’s behavior becomes sluggish even after the fever is down then it is a sign that the cause is something more serious than a cold. If the symptoms of fever and cough are accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea then the baby might be having flu. In case of an allergy you are going to see itchy skin and watery eyes accompanying fits of sneezing, but the baby will not have a fever.
Treatments and Remedies for Baby Cold
Common baby cold caused by viruses cannot be cured using a medicine, however, there are treatments available that can help you in lessening the pain and suffering of your baby. Common cold usually goes away on its own, but the following treatments methods can ease its symptoms.
- Hydration and rest. The best way of doing this is to give him plenty of fluids which include breast milk, water and juices. Always make sure that he takes a lot of rest.
You baby is not going to be able to blow his nose until he reaches the age of four until then the following methods can help you in lessening his nasal congestion.
- Saline water and suction. The use of saline water and suction is a very good option for clearing out the mucus that is stopping your baby to feed as it is hard for him to breathe and suck at the same time. Before feeding him, drop a few drops of saline water in his nostrils and then suck it out using a suction pump. This will clear some of the mucus and it will be easier for him to feed.
- Petroleum jelly. The application of petroleum jelly around the baby’s nostrils is also a good way of stopping some of the irritation he is having. However, avoid using a nasal spray as they can increase the congestion he is having.
- Humidifier and bath. Installing a humidifier in the baby’s room can help him in breathing easily too. You can give him a hot bath as well which would also clear his nose and make it easier for him to breathe.
- Vapor rub. Using a vapor rub or giving your baby a hot bath would do the trick too and clear his nose. Only apply it on your baby’s chest and back and never use it on the nostril as this could restrict breathing.
- Sleep in car seat. Making the baby sleep for a while in a car seat is helpful since the semi-erect position would help him in getting some much needed sleep, but do not keep him like this for long as the car seats are not made for this purpose and might end up suffocating him.
- Fever relief. For relieving the fever your baby is having, you can give infant ibuprofen or paracetamol, but ask your doctor about the proper dosage before administering them. Avoid the use of any kind of over the counter medications for children, as they can have side-effects.
When to See a Doctor
Children under the age of 3 months should be taken to a doctor immediately if the signs of cold are noticed. Babies older than 3 months should be checked regularly and if their fever reaches 102°F then they should be taken to a clinic as soon as possible. Fever lasting two days or more, tearing eyes, excessive crying when put down, difficulty in breathing or sucking, uncharacteristic behavior or persistence of symptoms for two or more weeks are some situation in which you should contact your medical advisor immediately irrespective of the age of your child.
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